Coach Tom Coughlin: I'll start out by basically telling you exactly what I told our team—I thought it was too bad that today in the world of sports and from everything that I hear from the outside that the discussion going on is about the personal battle that took place between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman, and not about a team that's 14-0, or a game which was, at one point, 35-7 and ended up 35 all, and then a drive at the end of the game with a long field goal to settle the score. It's too bad that's not what's being emphasized. I went further and said this—we all know that personal battles have no presence in the game of football, not at any level. They're a distraction, they take away from the game, they break concentration, they prevent what this thing is all about—the great game of football being played as a team, team sport. It's not about the individual, it's about the team. Having said that, let me say this to you, that there are qualities that Odell Beckham, this young man, brings to this football team, the likes of which I've never seen, okay? He has great energy, he has great enthusiasm, he gives great effort, he does it literally every day that he walks out on the field. He is an emotional young man, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. I will not defend his actions yesterday because they were wrong and this particular franchise and organization does not tolerate that, so I would not do that. But I will defend the young man and the quality of the person. I will defend him as long as I'm able. So I told our team that, our team feels the same way about Odell. Everyone knows that he was wrong and that was out of place. And it is an ongoing process, the education of young players. And this is a very unique and talented young man, and we are continuing to work with him about circumstances such as developed yesterday. For anyone out there to think that this was not discussed at great length with him – from the offensive coordinator, to his position coach, to me, throughout the course of the week—what he could expect in entering this game—for anyone to think that that did not take place, is foolish. We try to cover every possible scenario that will affect our team either through the X and O strategic operation or just whatever it may be, emotionally or whatever may transpire. So we try to prepare them for everything that they can possibly have happen in a particular game. And we continuously reinforce those thoughts throughout the game yesterday. One, Sean Ryan, the position coach, who has an outstanding relationship with Odell, literally met him at the sideline and walked and talked, and on my instructions and what have you, did communicate the same exact thoughts that I just relayed to you, on a literally series by series basis that things were happening on the field that no one wanted to take place. The other thing is, when Odell got to the sideline and spent time with his coaches, he was in the mode of learning information, gathering information, looking at pictures, and he was not out of control, he was not emotional. He was certainly at the sideline under control and wanted to have the information that he needed to go forth onto the field and to perform at a high level. So those things having been said, we're certainly disappointed today. I feel very badly for our team, and all that had put in the type of investment that goes with a game, playing against a very good football team. There's no consolation in playing well and losing, we don't deal with that at all. We put forth an outstanding effort, particularly I thought, they punted seven times, we punted seven times. I think it was 4th and 3 when are defense forced them to punt when we did catch fire with the second touchdown yesterday. I thought by going up-tempo, I thought our whole team responded to that and played hard. Errors were made and plays were made on both sides, but nevertheless, our guys were into the game, they played hard. We, unfortunately, had this game end like many games have ended this year. And this in itself, is of concern, obviously, to me. But the finish aspect did not happen yesterday for us, it had happened the week before. We were headed in that direction, but the final stop—we made the outstanding blocked kick from a special teams standpoint. Defensively, got the ball back, forced them to punt and give us the ball back etc. etc. A lot of things happened, but we didn't win the game, and we feel very badly about that. And our players are in that state today where they're remorse for opportunity lost, and that's exactly what happened.
Q: Now that you've probably had the opportunity to review some of the game film and see what transpired between Beckham and Norman, in your estimation, are you anticipating fines or suspension for Beckham?
A: Well I'm not sure about any of that. Immediately following the game, certainly there was some talk about fines.
Q: Obviously with the final two games of the year looming large and being ultimately a must-win scenario, is that disconcerting to you, that one of your top playmakers could be out for this next game?
A: You ask a question that requires no answer.
Q: Did you have a talk with Odell this morning after watching the film?
A: I had a talk with the entire team with Odell there. I will certainly visit with him again when the players become available.
Q: Was it worse than—you obviously, you're busy and you're not watching him every single play of the game. When you watched the film, did you realize the full spectrum of what was going on the whole time?
A: Well, not the full spectrum. Obviously when the game started, I was very much aware because I was in-tuned with watching what was going to transpire with that matchup right away in the game, initially as the game began. I did see some there, but my eyes don't follow one player around. So didn't see everything. Saw a little bit of it on film and as it was going on throughout the course of the game. As I said to you yesterday, I believe I said anyway, the idea that Odell regained his composure—I thought that was taking place after that spat in the third quarter where a couple of penalties occurred and we found ourselves driving but going backwards. And you remember the third down conversion that should have been on the plus-45, ended up on the minus-45. But at that point in time, I thought that things were under control.
Q: Were there ongoing conversations with the officiating crew to try to prevent things from escalating and getting too much out of control? Was that kind of an ongoing conversation throughout the game?
A: It was…primarily from our bench, first half and then anything that would flare up. But yes.
Q: You said there was talk of fines with Odell. Do you expect that there will discipline on Norman as well?
A: I have no idea about that.
Q: Do you think there should be?
A: Well if it happens on one side I would think it would happen on the other.
Q: When you talk about fines, you're talking about by the league or by the organization?
A: Well you have to start with the league.
Q: Did you personally have any interaction with Odell during the game or was it all Sean Ryan?
A: No, no. There was interaction at halftime, there was interaction as I think there were one or two occasions where as he came off the field, I was there. Not anything lengthy other than just reminders. At halftime actually Odell stepped into the huddle that I conduct right before we leave and told his teammates that he was sorry for having dropped a couple balls, but as a team we needed to believe and go out in the second half and play how we practiced. He was very positive.
Q: You're used to criticism, you've been in this game long enough. But a lot of it since the game has been directed specifically at you for not maybe sitting Beckham a series or what it appeared to outsiders, not doing something during the game. How do you respond to that specific part of it, that you with a reputation for discipline, didn't appear to discipline Odell? What's your answer to that?
A: Well there's a couple of different answers. One was, I don't watch one player throughout the course of a game. And to be honest with you, I wasn't aware of the fact that all those personal fouls were all directed at Odell. There were three personal fouls, there was on offensive pass interference. I wasn't aware of that, as you probably saw in the press conference afterwards. And secondly, there's a young player that's being educated that quite frankly, is an excellent football player. If we were to have a chance to win the game, I wanted him to be out there—I'll be honest with you.
Q: Do you regret not taking him out earlier maybe, at least for a couple plays in the first half, having seen what was going on?
A: I'm not talking about regrets. I regret we didn't win.
Q: You say that it's an ongoing kind of process dealing with the education of young players. Looking back, he's in line for his fourth fine and his fourth incident. Do you think you guys need to do a better job with that process?
A: Well, we thought we were. Because going in, even Odell had told you, the press, that the game was much more important, the game was being played between two teams and it was not about him or the corner that we mentioned. So you have all these things in front of you, I don't know why you're continuously asking. You're aware of some of this.
Q: Did you have a reaction when you saw the play in the third quarter—after the Vereen run I believe it was—when Odell launched and hit Norman in the face?
A: I didn't see that particular aspect until I looked at the tape today, and obviously that was a bad play.
Q: There was also a play right after Odell dropped the would-be touchdown very early in the game. I believe there was a running play and down the field Norman body-slammed, I guess, dumped Odell on the field with the side judge right there watching and no flags were called. Do you know or do you suspect that set any tone for this game?
A: Well I saw that play and I knew that —I saw at least the part of it where Odell ended up on the ground. I didn't know how it was provoked or what have you, but I did see that, and that has no part in our game either.
Q: Obviously since you've been here you've talked so much about Giants pride and doing things the right way. In the last two weeks you've had this incident with Odell, you had the thing with Damontre Moore. I realize they're not related, but do you get concerned over the picture that that kind of paints of what's happening in this organization given how much you take that pride personally?
A: Well, first of all, they're not related at all and the two circumstances are totally different. But yes, we'll deal with what we believe in and we'll get that straightened out. And people on the outside—talk is cheap—it's going to have to happen. But it comes also, somewhat, with the frustrations of having not won some of these very close games as well, I'll just mention that to you. We'll take care of our business. And we still maintain great, great New York Giant pride.
Q: You said that there was no doubt in your mind that what Odell did was wrong. If the league were to suspend him, would the team just go along with that or would they appeal it?
A: I don't know, let's not get the cart before the horse.
Q: How do you handle your team this week just based on the circumstances of just kind of hanging onto the playoff race by the smallest of threads?
A: Full speed ahead, that's how you handle it. We just talked about that, and we looked each other in the eye, and we've got to have two great weeks of practice starting right now. We got to have this great week of practice, going up to Minnesota to play against a very, very good football team that scored 38 points the other day. So we've got to focus and get ourselves ready to play and go play against a very good team—a team that's headed for the playoffs—and give it all we have as we prepare. So nothing changes, nothing changes. We will prepare and do the necessary work and go up there and believe we will win.
Q: Lessons can obviously be learned the hard way. What do you think Odell comes out of yesterday having learned?
A: I hope he learns exactly what should be learned—that that there is no place in this game for these personal battles. That it is team first, team last, team always, and nothing stands above that. And that he is responsible to his team and to his franchise, to his ownership, just as we all are. And I'm hoping that's what he learns.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Tom Coughlin just lamented that too much of the focus coming out of that game was on the Odell Beckham-Josh Norman thing. Are you as bothered by that as he is?
A: Well I think, hey, it was a great game, came down to the last minute and yeah, I think there was too much focus on that. I think those sometimes do become a physical battle and these little battles between players can go on a little bit. Obviously, you don't want it to take away from the game, you don't want it to hurt your team and you got to be smart about it. I thought they went at it early on, nothing was called and so they probably in their minds just start early on to see what they can get away with and that's when it probably got out of hand.
Q: Obviously that battle escalated pretty quickly, but specifically on the play when Odell launched himself with the helmet against Norman, I mean is that the kind of play that you fear not only is he going to hurt somebody else but himself with such a dangerous play?
A: No, I mean that hadn't popped in my head really. Obviously you don't want anything helmet to helmet, but they were going after each other a little bit and it's happened before, it's not the first time it's ever happened in an NFL football game.
Q: Given the pace of the game, is there much time when something like that happens to go to a player and say, 'Hey just calm down, take a breath, play football, and just focus on that' or do you just don't have the time to do that in between plays?
A: No, I went to Odell a few times and just be smart and I thought early on I thought he was being smart. I saw a few plays where Norman body slammed him or is going after him and he didn't retaliate, he didn't come back after him or push him or do anything and so I thought he was being smart. But if flags aren't called early and guys keep doing it eventually it's going to lead to something further and become an issue all game.
Q: As you mentioned, Norman seemed to instigate it early on in the game and Odell said after usually it's the second guy that gets caught. Do you anticipate any type of fines or possible suspension for Beckham?
A: I don't know. I have no idea. I think I'd be surprised if they suspended him. There might be a fine for one of the plays, but I'd be—this is a normal occurrence and I'd be surprised for a suspension.
Q: How big of a loss would that be if you had to play without him?
A: Well we will deal with it if it happens. Wouldn't want to speculate.
Q: With you mentioning flags not called early and Odell was body slammed, it kind of sounds like you just really have your teammate's back here. Is that part of this that you just support Odell and you think that maybe he was wrong at times?
A: Of course I support Odell. I think the guy does a lot of great things. He plays hard, he practices hard, he understands the circumstance and what occurred, he does not want to hurt his team, he does not want to put us in a bad situation. I think he's still a young player and it's a learning experience for him. I think he understands that, he's got to control his emotions, I think he's done a better job of doing that all season. So I think we're going to support him and I don't think he was, I think everybody's kind of attacking him, I think Norman came out and made his comments, which I think Odell took the higher road so I am proud of him on that aspect. It's one of those deals they were going after each other and hey, we don't support that, it's not the way I play the game, it's not what I'd do, but you got to be able to handle it on both sides and pay the consequences.
Q: When Coughlin spoke to us, just before he spoke to us about the importance of the team over any type of personal battles. From that standpoint seeing the emotions get the best of him, is that disappointing to see? You mentioned he's a young player but still in a game in that magnitude is it disappointing it got to that level?
A: It is what it is. I was surprised the way he bounced back early on, he had some uncharacteristic plays, dropped a few plays, but down in the fourth quarter made a couple of key plays, made a third down conversion and got about a 40-yard gain and obviously had the 4th and 5 and made a big play on Norman, probably the only time they played man-to-man coverage, Norman-Odell, and he beat him. He responded when we needed to him and he stayed—there were times when he kind of went off and played the personal battle but he came back in and did what he had to do for the team.
Q: You said Norman came out and made his comments, I'm sure you hear a lot out on the field. Were Norman's comments to Odell crossing some kind of a line here?
A: No, I was just saying to the media. He just cried a little bit so I didn't think that was really necessary. I think both those guys were going at it, I don't think either one was in the right, but I didn't think one was worse than the other.
Q: A question on the running game if I could, what's been the difference you've seen the last couple of games? The running game just seems to be functioning a little more smoothly?
A: Yeah, I think it's just the offensive line is doing a great job. They've opened up some holes, the backs have hit them and we had a couple nice, longer gains, which has been great. I think we had a 20-yarder and then had the 45-yarder. So to get a couple of those big gains and long runs always help out, but just overall just a little bit more consistent. Just getting positive yardage, no runs were going backwards or getting negative yards so that's a great key and it was good to get that running game going and be balanced.
Q: You've never had a season with these kinds of close losses, so many of them. How do you view them? Do you view them as like we are this close to competing with the very best in the NFL, just can't get it done, maybe next year we close them out? Or is it you're just not good enough?
A: I'm still trying to deal with that and understand it. Even today, just going back and watching the Carolina film I saw all the games on the computer screen and you just go down each one starting with Dallas and how many opportunities we had and how many games we loss on either the last play of the game, on a field goal made or a field goal missed, or on a play within seconds of the game being over and how many close ones there are. I feel like every game has been that way. Every game we've had an opportunity, we've had a lead and lost it or maybe we were behind and fought back and just ran out of time. So I think we are a good team, we just haven't been good enough to win some of these games.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Q: What are your thoughts on what happened and do you anticipate any type of fine or suspension for [Odell] Beckham?
A: I think it was just two guys, two competitors, going against each other. Both of them are good players and they were battling it out. At some point you just have to play football. The ref did a great job of letting them play football and not kicking either one of them out. That's just how it is in the NFL.
Q: Do you think if some of those flags would have been thrown earlier then it wouldn't have escalated to that point where it got in the 3rd quarter on that drive?
A: Not at all. Like I say, Odell is a great receiver, Josh Norman he's a great cornerback, and it's two guys that's going at it, two guys who are top at their positions. That's just like me saying I'm going against an offensive tackle, yeah sometimes those are going to get missed, you're not going to catch everything but at the end of the game it's all love. Those guys, they're cool, the game is over now, so they know how each other play. Those were two guys competing with each other.
Q: Obviously Norman tended to instigate a lot of that early on in the game but what did you make specifically of the hit that Odell, when he launched behind Norman's head, helmet to helmet?
A: I don't think it was intentional or Odell made the hit like that intentionally. He [Norman] moved his head or whatever and it was at an angle. He [Beckham] was going to make a block and he just so happened to hit his head but those guys were going at it early on so it looked like he tried to do it on purpose. I don't think it was done intentionally. Like I said, it was two guys going at it, and I can speak for Odell and I can speak for Josh Norman, but at the end of the day just two guys going at it. You don't want to get in between that, yeah the ref has say so but I did they did a great job not ejecting neither of them and letting them play it out. At the end of the day it's going to blow past and those guys will see each other again and they'll be cool.
Q: You've played about five or six now, and you had your first sack yesterday, are you starting to get more and more comfortable with the changes to your technique because of your hand or do you feel like there's more that needs to be done there?
A: Honestly I think that I'm getting better and better. This didn't come with instructions as my coach said. As far as me as a player I think I'm getting better and better every week. Training camp is over for me, I had no training camp whatsoever, a couple of my techniques I'm still rusty, but anytime you come back from a long injury or whatever you'll be rusty. Other than that I think I'm just getting started. I had a sack yesterday, I could have had three, but it's not a could-have that. I make a big difference on the line and I'm just happy that I'm out here playing with my teammates and I can help. We may win games and we lose together.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the emotional roller-coaster, obviously being down 35-7, fighting all the way back and tying it, and then what happened on that final drive whether it was a factor of fatigue or just a great quarterback making some great plays?
A: First, I would say at the end of the day it's crazy because as much you want to win the game, and we were down, but that still didn't stop us because we know what type of team that we have. Riding the rollercoaster up and down and our offense got it going, and it came down to the defense making a stop and we didn't make the stop. We all have to work together but at the end of the day we're doing fine. We win together we lose together as a team but they didn't justify not playing to our full potential. Yeah we made a couple mistakes and at the end of the day it's costed us or whatever but those are the key mistakes you shouldn't make and you have to go back over the film and correct it. That way we can win these games and move on to the next one. We have two games and we have to give it our all. We're not worried about what a team has or what miracle we need or whatever, we just want to go out there and play these last two games like we know we can play. It gets frustrating saying it every week but like I said I know what type of team we have…We can make it work with the guys that we have and that's what we're going to try and make it do.
Q: You mentioned that the mistakes are correctable, are these the same mistakes that are happening, or are these different mistakes being made by different people?
A: It's different mistakes being made by different people but at the end of the day you just have to practice it. Whatever you practice you'll carry over for the game. Those little mistakes that we make, correct them, and correct them on the field. When you do it you know you do it and you know you have done it. Just correct it and we'll be fine. Don't get me wrong I'm not perfect at all, and yeah I make some mistakes, but I know I won't make the same mistake twice…At the end of the day we lost the game yesterday, we move on the next one, we saw the film, we corrected a lot of stuff, and Wednesday get back on that field and make it do what it do. I'm excited to play Minnesota, it's going to be a nice football game, everybody is watching again, and I'm just excited to play football. I'm just blessed to be playing football right now.
Q: When you watched the film why do you think they had so much success passing against you guys?
A: It was things that we saw before but they did it in a different way. It was the same thing but they just did it in a different way but at the end of the day we're the players and we have to correct that. We have to play fast. We're not going to always get the call right but we just have to play fast and run to the ball. We can't play individually is what I'm trying to say, we have to all do it, one accord and we'll be fine.