Coach Tom Coughlin
Coach Coughlin: Just a couple quick things about the game. There were obviously a lot of good things, but the fourth quarter diminishes all of those positive thoughts. I thought that Shane Vereen really gave us a lift yesterday in terms of another major contributor to the offense. I thought that Dwayne Harris did an outstanding job with punt return/kickoff return. He gave us something that we can be excited about and the players can be going forward. I thought that our 17 unanswered points was a real strong position to take, particularly finishing the half, and then coming back out and scoring more points on the other end to start the second half. I thought all those things were real positive. You look down to the numbers and you can't help but see one-for-four in the green zone and the fact that we did not get any turnovers, they were three-for-three in the red zone, and so somewhere in there you find the deficiencies. There were lots of yards on both sides of the ball, but when it really mattered there for us, it's a difficult thing to say, but the ball was at mid-field, just under a minute to play and two timeouts, and I was very excited about the finish of the game, and I'm very disappointed in the how it did finish. We have a fast turnaround, we have a divisional game on Thursday night. The situation in our division is very obvious to all of you, I'm going to point that out to the team here in a couple of minutes, about how important this upcoming game is. We have to quickly, quickly, and I'm not going to dwell on yesterday's game with our players, I'll make a few points, and move on. With how quickly we have to turn this thing around and get headed in the right direction, I don't have a whole lot of information for you about injuries, it's too early in the day, those that had to be sent to the hospital would not have received any information yet. With that being said, let's discuss this, if you like; otherwise, I have to get going.
Q: You mentioned Dwayne Harris doing a good job in the return game, he wasn't back there on the final kickoff return, was he injured at that point?
A: Yeah, he has an issue with his toe, it was bothering him, and so he didn't go back there for that last kickoff, which was a touchback.
Q: Is he also one of the guys that are getting checked out this morning?
A: Again, I can't tell you that, I don't have anything in front of me quite yet from downstairs, so I don't know. He's not over at the hospital, so I don't know what that means but anyway that's the case.
Q: It looked like Dwayne Harris had a couple of times when he slipped on the turf, was that just something that he has to get used to?
A: We had some people slipping and sliding the other day and I mentioned it to our equipment people. It looked like a couple times he got up on the side of his foot and that's why he slipped, but there were other people out there slipping, too. I would bring the same question up.
Q: What did you see from the game last night when you went and looked at the tape? Is there anything that helps you figure out why in the fourth quarter the team is falling apart and is better in the first three quarters?
A: There are little things that you can grab ahold of. The fact that the seam ball to [Larry] Donnell might have given us the ball, definitely, inside the 30, maybe down inside the 25. You know just things like that, the pass rush obviously was very severe at that point in time, their ears were laid back, and they were coming, and there was pressure, and there was no doubt about that. You saw that happen and that was something that you really have to understand, and even in one situation where you might need to keep some people in or at least do a better job of helping and securing a couple of those spots. Not taking anything away from Atlanta's front, they did a strong job throughout the game. We had that, we had some misfires, and just some, certainly the delay of game, and things of that nature that just don't, they can't happen. They just can't happen, it's all got to be positive going forward, and it wasn't. You can bleed it play by play and find different people involved in different circumstances, but just by and large you have to make it happen right then.
Q: Some of the players talked about needing to learn how to finish games, is there a way that you can help?
A: We'll continue to talk about that, we'll continue to be positive, and we'll continue to utilize our meeting time with positive reinforcements whether it be examples of whatever. Sooner or later, we just have to settle down and play the way we're capable of playing when the game is on the line. I don't know how to say it any more simpler. The information comes forth from the sideline, you have x amount of time to digest it all, but then you have to go pull the trigger. Like yesterday, the fourth quarter was 14-0, so here we are in good stead throughout, and then we had the unfortunate turnover, but the next quarter was all Atlanta scoring.
Q: I know you like to have your team focused on just the task at hand, and they're all business, but you mentioned you were going to point out the division to them. Is that just to show them everyone else is struggling and there's still an opportunity there for you?
A: Yes, absolutely, the opportunity. It's just a way to try to again get over the disappointment of yesterday as fast as we can. We realize how important it is going forward.
Q: What did you think of Justin Pugh at left tackle? That's obviously something you might need going forward here and John Jerry slipping into guard, what was your assessment of that?
A: I think there were some good plays and some plays that weren't so good. He had an exceptional rusher, Justin did, on his outside, and he caused pressure at the worst time of the game, obviously. Justin had a couple of opportunities to work in there as we went through Ereck Flowers' ankle injury about a week ago, and fortunately he had some snaps there, and John had moved in as well. It was good experience for them to be able to practice there and they'll see themselves today and hopefully make some adjustments or minor thoughts as far as how they can play that position better.
Q: I know you don't have much information on the guys who played yesterday, but is there a plan moving forward this week with Jon Beason?
A: Well, he'll continue even though there really isn't a lot of practice time, it's a lot of mental work here. I'm sure they'll continue to work Jon on the side or whatever and just see where he's at. Hopefully he'll continue to improve and then we'll maybe get some kind of a word going forward here.
Q: Same question about Victor Cruz.
A: It'll be the same answer. Nothing has been said differently about his status except the fact that they continue to extend his work, and they're pleased with that part of it.
Q: But that doesn't include running yet, I assume.
A: He's been running, as I told you, on the treadmill in the water. He's been doing that and he's been doing some running out on the grass.
Q: How do you squeeze all of the stuff in the schedule? What is a Thursday game like for you? What do you consider the biggest challenge?
A: The biggest challenge is your next opponent. We've had experience with Thursday night games before and we have a routine and a process that we utilize for information to go to the players and then at the best we possibly can get the information covered on the field, in most cases just a jog thru. We'll continue to utilize that format.
Q: How do you feel Jayron Hosley held up?
A: Hosley made some plays and didn't make some plays, but the ones that he didn't make, I thought he was playing against an outstanding player, obviously, and he gave perhaps sometimes a little bit too much room, but overall he competed and he played hard. I thought that was a good step forward.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Eli, can you just talk a little about the mood of the team coming in. Do you have to put this loss behind you pretty quickly and look forward to the next one?
A: Yeah. We've got a short week, so you come in and I think we're putting ourselves in situations to win games, we've just got to find ways to win them. We've been in good spots in the fourth quarter, we've just got to make plays in critical situations and ensure that we get the wins.
Q: Is that something you have to learn to do to close out games and how do teams learn that?
A: Well, I think you've just got to understand that games are going to come to the fourth quarter and I don't know if it's about learning it, you just have to believe you're going to get it done. When things might be going great, there's always going to be little lulls or a possession or two that don't go your way, and you've got to be able to bounce back. You can't let the demeanor or mood get down. So we've got to stay positive and keep pushing and fight through those times.
Q: Do you think that's been part of the problem here, that guys have been getting down a little bit when things start to dip in the other direction?
A: Well, I don't think they're getting down, we've just got to understand—I thought the game obviously didn't start our way, we fought back through it. We started making plays and doing good things, so we've got to understand we've got to do our part, we've got to keep the energy up, we've got to move the ball, and help out our defense. Bring some excitement and some energy to the team. Yeah, like I said, learn how to finish games.
Q: What's your assessment of the offense here after the first two games? I think 29 points offensively in two games, I'm sure that's not what you guys were hoping for on the offensive side in terms of points. Where do you think it's been breaking down a little bit?
A: We've moved the ball well. I think we've got to be better in the green zone getting touchdowns. We're settling for field goals a little bit too often. But I feel like we are moving the ball well. The first game we didn't have many plays or many possessions. I thought we did okay when we had those opportunities. This game, the same. I thought we moved the ball well. We can score more touchdowns when we get down there tight and I think it would have been a pretty good day. I thought we got a good rhythm this past week and had some good things going. Got completions and had pretty good third down production, haven't seen the exact numbers, but I felt like we were pretty good on third down. So I think we're heading in the right direction, we've just got to do a little bit better and execute a little bit better.
Q: You looked Odell's way a lot early and, obviously, Vereen a lot. What can you do to get more options going for you in the wide receiver group beyond Odell right now?
A: We've got to do a good job of getting Rueben [Randle] involved some more, get him some catches. He's got to be a weapon for us. We've got to move some guys around. And just going through my progressions, we had to check the ball down a good bit, so we were hitting Shane [Vereen]. They were playing a lot of zone and dropping guys deep and trying to take away our receivers. So we checked the ball down, let him make the big plays for us, he's a threat. We feel confident with all our receivers, so we've got to do a good job mixing the ball around, but ideally, I'm just trying to go through my progressions based on the coverages and find completions.
Q: What do you do to help out Preston Parker? Obviously he's had some struggles in the first two games. How do you do that and what do you do?
A: Preston [Parker] is going to be fine. I'm going to keep throwing to him, we're going to keep working on things. He'll be fine. I thought he made some nice catches and did some good things yesterday. He's got to make some plays for us as well.
Q: How much does it help that you've been through situations in the past where the Giants have had slow starts and have come back out of it in good fashion?
A: I think we have a young team right now. We've just got to make sure guys stay strong. I think we have a good group, and guys are going to keep fighting and keep working to get better. And I think that's the goal. Hopefully we can come out today, it's a different week, so we've got to prepare and stay focused and do everything we've got to do without much practice time. It's going to be a challenge, but it's something we've got to be able to accomplish. Make sure everybody is on the same page so we go out there Thursday night and make sure we're doing everything right to give us the best chance to win.
Q: Does it make a difference to you when you look around the division and there are teams that are being destroyed by injuries, inconsistencies? Every other team is having some problems as well. Does that make it a little easier to tolerate a 0-2 start?
A: Well, you always look around the division and see what's going on. Obviously, the Cowboys are 2-0, but like you said, they've got some injuries and some things going on. A lot can happen in these next 14 games, and there's a lot of football to be played. We just understand we've got to win some games. We've got to start finding ways to win. Everybody's play has got to improve a little bit. I've got to do that also. I thought we did make some improvements. I thought I threw the ball better this past week than the week before. So I've got to keep doing that and making improvements. And hopefully we can put some things together.
Q: When you have such a young team and you're working with such a young offense, how much pressure do you feel or how much more challenging is it for you to keep everyone in the right position?
A: I think everybody is doing the right thing. I think everybody is working hard. There's always going to be mental mistakes, there's always going to be mistakes in a game, but we're not having many of them. I think guys are doing the right things, going the right ways. We're not having guys unblocked or wrong routes. So I think we've been good on that aspect. The execution can be improved, so we're going to keep working on that. The preciseness of the offense and everything we're doing can be better. So we've just got to challenge ourselves to get better every week.
Q: What did you see with the running game yesterday? What do you attribute to not being able to get it consistently going so far?
A: I thought we had some nice runs. We had a couple, obviously, Andre [Williams] broke a long one. I think we've just got to be more consistent. We have too many runs where we're losing two and three yards. That just can't happen. Our bad runs need to be one-yard gains instead of losing two or three yards. That just puts you in bad down and distance. It makes it hard to keep drives going. I can do a better job of getting us in the good run looks. It starts up front, being physical. If we throw the ball well, hopefully we can get their safeties back playing a little bit more coverage and it should open up some runs.
Q: How do you think it went without Ereck Flowers in there with Justin [Pugh] at left tackle and John Jerry slipping into guard?
A: I thought Justin [Pugh] did well. It's a tough scenario, all of a sudden to go and say, "Hey, you're playing left tackle." Something he hasn't done since college. But I thought he fought, knew what he was doing. Veteran guy, knows what's going on, knows the offense. We've got to see what the circumstances are, I don't know what the injury or how severe it is to Ereck [Flowers], or what's going to go on this week. We've got to make sure everybody knows what's going on this week and see how we're going to be lined up.
Q: You talked about the youth of the team and the youth of the offense. How about the quarterback? Does your confidence ever take a hit? Does anybody ever have to pick you up?
A: No. I understand when I play well or don't play well that I always have plays I wish I had back. "Hey, I need to make that throw. I need to hit this. I could've checked to this." There's always things I'm going to learn from each game. I think my confidence just comes from, "Hey, I've made plays. I've made comebacks. I know I can do it." I go out in practice, I make the throws. I feel good about where I am in the offense and how I'm feeling, how I'm throwing. I've got to keep just working. Try to make sure I make the throws when we need them.
LB Devon Kennard
Q: After watching Eli do well last season, how strange is it to see how many errors he's had in the first two games?
A: Being a defensive guy, that's not something I really think about or worry about. I worry about things we're doing on the defensive side of the ball, but I have full confidence in Eli and the offense that they'll keep on progressing and doing well throughout the season.
Q: How much of Washington have you gotten to watch already and what do you see in the run game?
A: Late last night I was watching a little bit and some this morning and they have a good running game. They played really good against St. Louis yesterday and it's something we've got to definitely address early and make sure we're ready to stop.
Q: When you lose a player like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, how much does that trickle down or forward to the linebackers and defensive line?
A: I mean, it's hard to replace DRC. He's a spectacular player, a freak of an athlete and definitely one of the best players on our team and one of the leaders on the team. But it's a next-man-up type of league and it's not something we can worry about. It's something we've got to bounce back from and everybody has to pick up slack in other areas.
Q: Eli Manning was saying before that the team has to learn how to finish and win and, as simple as it sounds, how exactly do you do that? Is there a formula? Do you rely on guys that have been there? What can you do to learn how to win?
A: I mean, from my perspective, it just comes down to finishing games towards the end of games and making plays in critical moments. Every game is going to be a tight game. We feel like we can play with anybody, but when those moments come in the games, we've got to make more plays than the other team and that's what it comes down to.
Q: You were unable to do that, Devon, two weeks in a row. Does that shake your confidence?
A: I think we've got a resilient team and I don't think it kills anybody's confidence. It's most definitely frustrating, but you've got to move on. It's a short week this week and we're already on to Washington and not worrying about the last two weeks and what could've, would've, should've been. We have a great opportunity to win a divisional game.
Q: Does it help you to look around the division and see that pretty much every team is having issues and nobody is really threatening to pull away?
A: It's a division where anybody can win it and we can compete with all the teams and that's what we want to do. We want to do our best and come out and be ready for Washington. Seeing what everybody else is doing, as well, we definitely have all the opportunity in the world.
Q: What did you see from yesterday's game from the defense? What do you take away from that?
A: I think we're progressing, but again, at the end of the day, in critical moments we've got to find ways to make plays on the field. Being a defensive guy, if they don't score, they don't win, and they're getting points on us late in the games and we've got to find a way to stop them.
Q: What did you see? Why does this change for you guys? Did you see anything different? Is there anything you are doing differently late in the game?
A: Not necessarily. I just think at end of the day, we had the offense making some plays on us later in the game and we've got to find a way to make those stops and get some critical stops in a different situation.
Q: Offenses have done a lot of attacking you guys underneath. It seems to be what the Falcons did, especially early. Guys flipping across formation and stuff. What do you guys need to do to try and be able to stop that moving forward and what kind of adjustments do you make?
A: I think our communication is key, just to make sure if they're going to be doing crossing across the field and stuff, we've got to be able to communicate, linebackers, secondary and all that so we can pick those guys up and make sure they're not rinking and dinking us down the field. At the end of the day, if they're throwing short passes, overall we'd rather that than those deep balls. Keep it in front of us, make tackles and we get off the field.
Q: Have there been things scheme-wise that you haven't been able to do because Jon [Beason] hasn't been on the field yet?
A: No, I don't think that affects what the plan is for me necessarily at all. It's definitely—whenever Jon is back, it'll be definitely a huge plus for us. He's a great player, but Uani ('Unga) has been stepping up for us and has been doing a great job these last two weeks and really running the show well. We've just got to keep progressing.
Q: How much more will Jon Beason be a benefit, especially late in these games? I know Uani is playing well, but at the end of the game Jon's leadership and experience, how much can that come in handy?
A: I think it'll definitely benefit us just because he's such a leader, he really knows how to control the defense and get things under control. Like I said, Uani is doing a great job and I think he's being very effective, so I don't know how much it would or wouldn't change.
Q: I know Coach Spagnuolo talked about it last week about how Tony Romo kind of got you to show your hand early a lot of times on the blitz. Did you see that again yesterday at all or is that something you have to talk about or work on moving forward from here?
A: I don't necessarily think they got our hand on as many blitzes as necessarily as it happened in Dallas, and I think it's something we're continuing to improve and progress on in our blitz packages and different things where we can bring pressure and get hits on the quarterback. I think we made a step in the right direction on that.