We talked last night, so I'm going to just briefly say what the obvious is. It was fun to win and I think the team responded very, very well. We play hard. It wasn't perfect by any means. There were a lot of things that have got to be improved if we're going to go forward here, but I certainly was impressed by the way our defense played. If not for the punt return, there wouldn't have been a score. Lots of good things took place last night. First of all, no offensive turnovers. So we did keep from beating ourselves. We did have one obviously on a fundamental error on a punt return that should never happen. We did have two takeaways with our special teams outfit. The punt return takeaway that we got, putting us in point blank (range), was a huge plus. We hadn't had that happen in a long time and we took full advantage of that and we did show power in running the ball into the end zone there, which wasn't always obvious last night offensively. But the other on the surprise mortar kick was an outstanding momentum builder for our team as lots of guys contributed. Antrel got in there and made the big hit. Moore knocked the ball out. Jacquian caught it in the air. So lots of things happened along those lines that were plusses.
We were plus-two for the evening. We had 36:22 time of possession, which is interesting because that means the last three games that Minnesota has played, the opponent has had the ball for over 36 minutes, which I tried to make our team aware of that in terms of going in. We held the MVP of the National Football League to 13 carries for 28 yards (2.2 avg.); 30 yards total rushing for the Vikings and that was a good accomplishment and we've been able to do a good job against the run with some degree of consistency and the example of course last night. We did not have a lot of yards last night offensively rushing, but we did have 32 rushes, which is a good indicator that your defense is playing the way we were playing, that there can be outstanding patience shown on the offensive side of the ball.
The penalties do bother me. The one penalty on special teams after a nice punt return was certainly unnecessary with the late hit. We did have the four penalties on defense, which certainly we would like to discuss the one that was called a personal foul. I'm not sure that helmet was involved there. It's a very difficult thing for the officials to see. We did have, obviously, the punt return, which we just didn't cover well. We were following color down the field, not necessarily in very good position, no one defending the boundary and once the gunner was blocked, the ball moved to the sideline and we didn't have anybody in position to help ourselves there.
We kicked the ball to the absolute end line. As a matter of fact I looked close to see if the foot was on the line and apparently it wasn't because the referee was standing right there as well, but that resulted in a 69-yard return. It was really the only… There was one other field position ball that was a more left that Minnesota was able to bring out, but the sad thing is it looked as if it we would have the returner, an outstanding returner obviously coming in. He had all kinds of stats, but we had him corralled and then all of a sudden he was able to maneuver back outside and that resulted in a big kick return. We're disappointed in the majority of our special teams play, our coverage teams first and foremost. We have plenty of work to do.
I thought there was a lack of consistency from our offensive team. Our first drive was outstanding. Before they got the ball back it was under six minutes to play in the first quarter and the drive was well-executed. Lots of good things took place and we certainly did a nice job with the introductory part of our game. Their pressure, without a doubt, caused issues. Time to time, there was penetration, which we'll have to certainly address. You can't help but recognize the play of some people last night and I would say that (Peyton) Hillis, for coming in and being here a short amount of time and being as involved in the game as he was and for him to keep his poise to not stumble on terminology and to be in the right place at the right time, was a huge plus for us because it was obvious that was one of the huge questions that you would have in going into the game. First of all, who was going to be the running back? Who's going to play there, and Michael Cox and Peyton did that job and were admirable in that. John Conner continues to lead the ballcarriers on any type of lead play with some physical prowess.
We're excited and happy about winning, but quite frankly we're back to work and need to focus on a divisional game with Philadelphia. The coaches are doing that now and I'm the one that's lagging behind in getting on to it.
Q: Is there a different vibe in the building today after the first win?
A: To be honest with you, I haven't even been around the building. This has been one of those deals where you're right at your machine most of the time. It's an interesting thing that you bring up because everyone in this building, every Giant employee, because they're so dedicated and so loyal and so much involved with our team on the field that when you're not performing the way you should, they're down and when you win, certainly their spirits are high. I would think you got it right on.
Q: What's the status on David Baas?
A: They just came in at noon. I haven't been able to see Ronnie Barnes yet, but I know the first question I'll have will be about David.
Q: Did it look like it was bad?
A: What's it look like? He came out of the game with an injury that would prevent him from going back in, so that's as far as I can go with it until I hear.
Q: Did Hakeem re-injure his hand?
A: I don't know if that's… If he did, he kept it to himself.
Q: Would you say that you're waiting on Hakeem to make a few more plays this year?
A: There certainly was a ball that was off his fingertips, which you talk about the ball being a little bit long or however you want to say it. He did a nice job of winning off the line of scrimmage there, but I'm sure Hakeem would be the first one to tell you that there were a couple of those balls he should have caught.
Q: Coach, how much can you expect from Hillis in the future and did you see things that maybe would allow you to use him on a regular basis now?
A: He was pretty much regular last night in a lot of ways. Like I say, he was a very welcome addition and I think he went out on the field, fit right in and did some good things. That was very encouraging. Even to the point where the two goal line runs were stout runs in there. I thought maybe he would have scored on the first one. I think he just tripped up, but the second one, for sure, he was in the end zone and I thought there was a nice burst there with power in addition to getting a quick start.
Q: Speaking of goal line charges, do you have any idea about Brandon Jacobs coming back next week?
A: I don't. Again, I'll have to see where we're at on that. He obviously wasn't dressed yesterday so he wasn't ready to go.
Q: In a very short period of time Jon Beason seems to have taken on a central role. Can you talk about what he's brought to the team so far?
A: He's a pro. He's a pro's pro. He's excited. He loves the game, he loves the competition. He's physical. When you listen to him you know there's confidence there. He is bright eyed, he's energetic. He's done a very nice job in a short amount of time.
Q: Is Justin Pugh continuing to play well?
A: I think he's improving. I think on a weekly basis, there's always plays in the game that you would like to have done better. I think his awareness has definitely improved and he's not surprised, if you will, by what he sees on the field at this point and I would expect that at this point, it would just continue to get better.
Q: Did you see signs last night of Jason Pierre-Paul maybe starting to show?
A: Yeah. If you notice, we didn't have but one sack, but we did hit the quarterback a lot. Jason was certainly in the middle of that, as was really our front, our blitzers, our line backers. We came out of the secondary with Antrel and Will Hill, for example, and they got involved in there. I did think that we made steps forward.
Q: Was it encouraging to see people like JPP and Tuck play at the level that they've had over the last couple of years?
A: Certainly, it is. That's the whole point we've been trying to create is that pressure again, where the quarterback knows coming in when he plays the Giants, he's going to have to contend with that. There were examples that we can build on there and physicality has come along as well. That has to happen on both sides of the ball, special teams included. We're looking for that to continue to grow.
Q: This is the second game in a row where you've had a guy come in, basically new to the team and dropped him in the middle of everything and contributed pretty well, I'm talking about Beason and Hillis obviously. Does that inspire other guys? Does that spark the rest of the team, do you think?
A: Yes, sure it does. To be able to come in a short amount of time and complement your team and play well and contribute, it's a huge positive. I think it does breed confidence and it does breed the idea that there is something perhaps we didn't have that now we have. I think from a standpoint of that, yes. I think the two young men that you're referring to have both, in their own way, inspired others and I hope that will continue.
Q: Last night Eli said he'd sleep better than he has in a long time. I'm just wondering in a week where there are corrections to make, I don't want to use the word 'easy,' but is it a different situation when you get to make those corrections and try to get better, but it's after a win?
A: Much easier. You can compliment and then you can correct. The compliments go along with the objective, which is winning, and then you can go into the details of how you are going to improve and what needs to happen in order to improve. I think the atmosphere which you present those things is always much more greatly received when you're coming off of a win.
Q: You had a player this morning reveal that he received a death threat on Twitter. Obviously that's concerning, but I was wondering if you have any concerns about fans maybe having a little bit too much access nowadays where they can do things like that?
A: Obviously I feel in just hearing about this, we're all concerned about that type of thing. It has no business or no place in professional athletics, amateur athletics or whatever. You can extend the entertainment business and then go ahead and begin to formulate questions about where this kind of stuff comes from. You're always concerned about the player and his family, and for young people to have to worry about something is not necessary, it's not a part of what we do, and I'm not going to speculate on social media. I'm just concerned about however this would be revealed that it's wrong and it has no business in our game.