Coach Coughlin: Good morning. The only thing I'll say about the incident that occurred the other day in the game that everyone is preoccupied with right now is the fact that to depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one wrong, is not right. It's not fair, it's not justice, it's not the way it was. If you're naïve enough to think that way, then you better do some soul-searching yourself. Beckham certainly was wrong, and we said he was wrong from day one. But there were factors involved, starting in pregame, which are well-documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. He was provoked, he was out of control, he was wrong, there's no doubt about it. You'd like that that didn't happen. But the fact of the matter is, if you know that, the situation pregame with the baseball bat and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there was two sides to this and not just one. And that's the only thing I'll say about that incident. Alright, we're onto the Minnesota Vikings, a very good football team that's 9-5—they're 3-3 in their last six games. They're one game behind Green Bay in the NFC North. They're plus-two in the turnover ratio. They've only committed 81 penalties, which is second-lowest in the National Football League. I can tell you that they play a good brand of football, and they do not beat themselves. Their offense is ranked 28th overall, they're fifth in the league in rushing, which is what they want to do. They run the ball, they throw the play-action pass. They're fifth in rushing, 31st in passing. Teddy Bridgewater, their young quarterback, is 66 percent completion percentage. He has 13 touchdowns and a 90.4 quarterback rating. Versus Chicago, this guy was 17 for 20 with four touchdown passes and one running play. He did run the ball in for a touchdown as well. Adrian Peterson is their outstanding rusher who leads the league in rushing, leads the league in attempts with the rush. Kyle Rudolph, their outstanding tight end and rookie Stefon Diggs lead their team with 47 receptions apiece. Their defensive team is ranked 13th—they're 19th versus the run, seventh versus the pass. They're fourth in the NFL in preventing touchdowns in the red zone. Everson Griffen, their outstanding defensive end, leads their team with 8.5 sacks. Our friend, Linval Joseph, is there. He has a toe injury. I would think he will be ready to play against us. Chad Greenway, Terence Newman, Harrison Smith—an outstanding array of defensive players as well. They have a very, very good special teams outfit with excellent production. They're 10th in punt return at 9.6 with Marcus Sherels. They're second in kickoff returns at 28.2 with (Cordarrelle) Patterson. They're second in punt coverage, allowing only a 5.0 per punt return. And they're 31st in the allowing kickoff return yardage at 27.6. Any questions about the Minnesota game?
Q: How much different are they using Linval Joseph versus how maybe he was used here? And what kind of growth have you seen in him?
A: Well, as I said, there have been three games in a row he has not played. Linval's a big, strong, physical defensive tackle. He plays on the nose. They feature a nose, a one-technique, a three-technique. He's on the center most of the time. He's a big, strong, knock-the-center-back kind of a guy. He takes care of the interior of the line of scrimmage. And he is a good player.
Q: Your strong opening statement, are you more upset at the coverage of this or at the fact the league has singled out Odell and not Josh Norman?
A: I'm done talking about it, thanks. I just made the one statement.
Q: Can you say what you saw or heard during pregame that you said provoked this?
A: No. I saw what you saw. You got it, you got the footage.
Q: You talk about the preoccupation with this, is that a concern of yours in the locker room with your team?
A: The team is looking forward to the Minnesota game and preparing for them.
Q: Have you had the chance to sit down with Odell yet? I know you said you would if you had an opportunity when you can.
A: I talked to him prior to.
Q: Prior to what?
A: The suspension.
Q: Were you aware of any of the pregame stuff while it happened? And if so, did you talk to Beckham and try to calm him down before that?
A: I was standing on the sideline when the individual went by with the baseball bat. But I did not see the entering the ranks and that type of thing.
Q: Did you say anything about a guy with a baseball bat on the field to anybody at that time?
A: I'm done. Talking about Minnesota.
Q: Is Odell here today? Is he going to practice? Is he allowed to practice?
A: The hearing is going on. Do not people know this?
Q: We don't know if he's there or if he's—
A: I don't either, but he's not here. Obviously he can't come here, he's suspended.
Q: How do you move forward if you have to go without him on Sunday?
A: Move forward…you've got to go forward, period.
Q: How big a disadvantage is it if you don't have him?
A: Well, obviously you'd like to have that player with you. But if in fact it doesn't happen, we have to think of our team as well, which we're trying to do.
Q: With Dwayne Harris having the shoulder, would Myles White and Geremy Davis be the guys stepping up?
A: Probably, perhaps.
Q: Are you really worried about Harris or is it sort of like last week?
A: Well, I don't know. He's a little bit sore today, I can tell you that. I was expecting that he would be in a little better shape today. It's Wednesday, we'll see what happens.
Q: At this point, it's worse than last week though you would say?
A: I don't think worse, no.
Q: Is Hakeem Nicks ready to take on a much larger role if he's asked to?
A: He will have to be.
Q: What do you lose with Nikita Whitlock, who of course was that two-way player and also special teams?
A: I'll tell you, what he did for the last two weeks as a lead blocker was very good. So we miss that part of it. He did a nice job blocking the linebackers. But he was on all special teams. He was injured actually as a defensive lineman, so we lose that aspect of rotation as well.
Q: So you lose basically two guys, one on each side of the ball. You're thin on the defensive tackle side. Do you bring in somebody else or do you just work around that?
A: Work around it the best we can. He was used as a special situation defensive lineman. He wouldn't have been in on first and second down.
Q: And I would assume also at fullback, too, you work around that maybe with a tight end back there?
A: Maybe. Maybe.
Q: How unique is your take on this situation where what happens Saturday night will determine whether you're still playing for the division crown Sunday?
A: We've talked about—we know the circumstances and the percentages. We've got two games to play, a two-game schedule. We want to play as best we can, as hard as we can, for two games. That's it.
Q: Something that a lot of your former players said is that in the past there would be guys on the sideline to make sure that stuff like what happened the other day never would have happened, they would have said something to him assertively.
A: Does this have something to do with the Minnesota game? I don't think so.
Q: Are you worried about leadership on your team? Do you feel that you have the proper leadership?
A: Do I feel we have the proper leadership? We have three captains that are elected, and I certainly was happy with those. Two of them are injured, obviously, so there's a little bit of a void there. But the guys that have stepped up have done a good job.
Q: Did you talk to the team specifically about the potential for distraction of Beckham's suspension and everything that has gone with it?
A: In specifics, no. But they were aware of the hearing or whatever you call it, and the fact that none of us know what the result is. At that point in time, I'll be sure to make them understand.
Q: What was Odell like when you talked to him before the suspension? What was his feeling on what happened?
A: He felt bad, that's probably the best way I can say it. He felt bad.
Q: How's his mindset right now as far as you're aware?
A: Is this Minnesota?
Q: If he plays, is that not valid for Minnesota?
A: Ask me that question once we find out the answer.
Q: Are you hopeful that this could rally your team? It could be a distraction or your team can rally?
A: I think as strongly as we can bond together and that it becomes recognized, that would be our strength.
Q: In your career with everything you've experienced, how have the last three days ranked in terms of attention on not only you, your operation, and obviously your best or one of your two best players?
A: You know, I'm aware, but I'm not aware. I don't spend time, "What did they say? What did they—." No, we lost a very tough football game and that's what I know.
Q: It's one thing not to be aware of what we say and everything else, but I'm curious if someone within the organization has reached out to the league office to essentially give your side/Odell's side of the story--?
A: Yes…that has happened.
Q: Have you discussed with them the officiating, and the fact that Dean Blandino said yesterday opportunities were missed to calm this down early?
A: That was shared with everybody prior to the game, before the game.
Q: What do you do to make sure something like this doesn't happen again?
A: Come on. Come on.
Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo**
Q: How do you handle this week contingency-wise not knowing what you've got with Odell?
A: We put a plan together to attack Minnesota's defense, they are a good sound defense, well coached, they play hard, have some depth, and if we have Odell, we'll have a plan for it. If not, we'll move forward that way as well.
Q: So you have two plans?
A: We have one plan, but we have contingency plans based off of our personnel.
Q: You haven't heard one way or another if he's going to be available yet?
A: I have not, no.
Q: What's your take on—a lot's obviously going on in that game, you have a lot to do with calling plays, you have a player who is having a problem there. How did you handle it and what went into your thinking in handling that game?
A: Well, I'll give you my take on it. We work in a professional environment and when something gets personal that way, it affects the entire offense. Obviously it affected Odell's performance and affected the offensive performance and became a distraction. Unfortunate and it can't happen, we can't let a personal battle take away from our professional environment, and it shined a negative light on the organization, and we can't let that happen. With that being said, three and a half hours on a Sunday afternoon, Odell made some bad decisions and got caught up in that personal battle. He made some bad decisions, (in) a three and a half hour window. You can't, in my opinion, attack a young man's character. He's still a high-character young man, we're going to have his back, he's a member of the Giant family, our family, and it's unfortunate that it happened, but we've got to learn from it, we've got to move on, and it's a big game this week.
Q: Did you have any direct communication with him during the game about what was going on or said?
A: Yeah, I had a couple quick—I mean you have quick conversations during a game and then one at halftime, but each time I approached him, he was being coached and responding to coaching and went on the field and some things happened there that were unfortunate.
Q: Did you think of taking him off the field at any point?
A: There were conversations being made during the course of the game, yes.
Q: What went into him not coming off the field?
A: That's in-game communication and it's going to stay in-house.
Q: You think he will grow from this?
A: Absolutely. Like I said, he's a high-character young man who during a three hour, three and a half hour window on Sunday he let it snowball on him, made some bad decisions, and couldn't pull himself out of it, and that's unfortunate that it happened the way it did, but towards the end of the game, started playing better and refocused, reenergized himself and made a play that was big for us on fourth down at the end of the game.
Q: You said he was responding to coaching, is he a different guy on the sideline, then all of a sudden he goes on the field and he's…
A: Yeah, each time I approached him and each time I took a look over in between series—you know when you're calling the game, you have a hard time, you don't watch one player, there are certain things you have to do. You have to call the game before you call the game and your eyes go to certain spots based on what you're doing. During the course of the game, when we were off the field, I was working with Eli on the sideline and either working and coming over either speaking with Odell or checking in on him from afar and he was responding to coaching, talking about the game, seemed to settle down and was focused on trying to get the ball in his hands.
Q: What do you do, as an offensive coordinator, to make sure that this doesn't happen again or doesn't escalate as the game progresses to the point where now you're without one of your best players?
A: We were all aware going into the game it was going to be a high-octane situation. We were aware of that going in. We had discussions multiple times and something happened there in pregame, something happened early in the game, and snowballed on all of us.
Q: Just looking back on Eli's interception late in the end zone, what was going on? Did Hakeem Nicks slip? Was that part of it or was it just an ill-advised throw?
A: The ball was out of his hand before he slipped. What happened was as Eli's eyes went to the right, he had to extend the play so he moved, he had to throw the ball away a little bit earlier. He was trying actually to throw the ball away and there was some contact there at the end that made it look like he was throwing the ball up for grabs and that wasn't the case and then Nicks slipped and it was an error that could've been avoided if we just came out of the pocket, scrambled early, had a chance to extend the play on the perimeter or just throw it away earlier. Listen to his timeclock there and try not to do too much from the pocket.
Q: So basically he was trying to throw it out of the end zone and just didn't get enough on it because it looked like someone was bearing down on him?
A: Yeah, he was trying to throw the ball away and didn't have a chance to put enough juice on it.
Q: You lost your fullback, he's on injured reserve now, where do you move from there?
A: We have plenty of big people that can block, so we're going to use all hands on deck like we always do and we'll have a plan for it.
Q: You open to using big people like offensive linemen or more toward tight ends probably?
A: We're going to use all hands on deck this week.
Q: Tom seemed to give him some credit for the improvement in the run game the last couple of weeks, specifically mentioned his work as a lead blocker the last couple of weeks. Had that been better than you had seen prior?
A: Yes, he's taken a step forward. It's an unfortunate injury.
Q: Will Tye been a pleasant surprise?
A: He's doing some things well, he's progressing. He's definitely, seems like he's turning into one of Eli's favorite targets in the offense. He can finish better in the run game and we'll need to do that this week.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: With all this movement on the bottom of the roster the last few weeks with the injuries, how much have you had to kind of retrain some new guys to fit inside some of your special teams coverages?
A: Some of it, but a lot of it, the guys have been on the practice squad and you try to play them in roles that they would normally step into and try and keep it. You can't always do that so there's some learning involved obviously.
Q: Nikita [Whitlock], that's a tough loss for you, right?
A: Yeah, anytime you lose a guy that plays on all four is like losing four guys. You usually don't have one guy who can do all four things, which is a unique ability, so, excited to see the new guys play.
Q: Do guys get new assignments now, this week, as a result of that?
A: A few, yeah. We'll see.
Q: I like that story, it's a fun story to play on defense, I guess it got him [Whitlock] hurt but it's neat that he got to do it.
A: He said it happened on special teams, but I couldn't really see where he was talking about.
Q: He said he got hurt on special teams?
A: I think he felt it there.
Q: But he came out on defense?
A: A defensive play, yeah. He did a really good.
QB Eli Manning
Q: I know you don't know the status yet of Odell, but if he's not with you guys on Sunday, how do you fill that void without him in the lineup?
A: We'll be fine. We've got guys, great opportunity for other guys to step up. We'll run our offense and go about our business. The guys know what they're doing, guys know the routes, guys know how to get open and we'll go about it and make plays.
Q: What do you see in guys like Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks being able to step up and get those extra reps?
A: Yeah, definitely. Young guys will be put in position to make plays and we're going to run our normal offense. We'll put guys in a position to do what they do well and to get open. We'll have to make plays, but we've got guys who can do that.
Q: Minnesota's front seven, pretty stout, they've got 34 sacks, I think it is. How much do you have to be concerned with what they do? I hear they're very confusing to deal with.
A: They've got a good front seven. They do a good job getting pressure on the quarterback, getting sacks, a lot of times just bringing four guys, not with pressure. But their linebackers, when they do come, they do a good job. They bring some safety pressures. So they do a good combinations of things. They do a good job stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.
Q: I know you have to focus on the game, but you also understand the scoreboard watching situation here. You guys need Washington to lose. How can you put that totally out of your mind and focus on the game? How hard is that to do?
A: No, our focus will be on the game. It's all we can worry about, all we can do. We'll understand the other game, what's going on there, and what has already gone on by the time we're playing. We just go about our business.
Q: There's such a mental aspect just knowing the playoff scenarios when you're in the game Sunday night. Finishing strong, how much has that really been a theme?
A: Yeah, we've got to do it. We've done it some, but not enough this season. But we've got to find a way to finish this season better than we've started and finish each game strong. So see if we can get in that situation, keep it close, get it close, and win in the fourth quarter.
Q: As one of the leaders of this team, did you feel like at any point during the game it was your job to pull Odell aside and say, "Hey, we don't need this right now."
A: It wasn't a distraction during the game. It was one of those things where you don't always see everything that's going on. You've got run plays where you've got your back turned or you're trying to get everyone lined up. So said a few things and saw him get dumped a few times. You don't see everything that went on.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul**
A:…just like every week, come out here and try to win the game. The guys know what we're up against, and we have to win the last two, it's no question about it. We must win the last two and hopefully everything falls into place.
Q: Do you notice a distraction factor based on what went on this past weekend with Odell?
Q: It seemed awfully quiet in practice…
A: No it wasn't, practice went great today. A lot has happened this past week or whatever, but we're all football players, we're grown men, so we know how to handle the situation.
Q: Don't you still consider yourself one of the leaders of this team?
A: I lead by my play, how I play the game, so I'm not really a (verbal) person like that. The way I play the game, people follow me.
Q: Silent Assassin type?
Q: You've played against so many great running backs in your career. Adrian Peterson, from what you see on tape with him, what makes him different and makes him so special? Some people think he's the best ever.
A: Since I've been in this league, I don't know how many times I played him, maybe twice, I don't know, but he's a good running back. He's one of the best ever and we have to face him this week. We have to contain and play gap sound, but we're going to have to do the job up front, we have to play the run.
Q: What about his skillset though?
A: He's everywhere. You look on film, you cut back right and you look like you're going to make the tackle, and he's just up the field for another 25 yards. He's a powerful running back, he breaks tackles, and just keeps on going. He's a great running back and that's all I have to say about that. He's a big challenge for us on the d-line this week and we have to play our part and stop the run.
Q: So from your standpoint, is that a, "Oh I have to contain this guy?"
A: I have to get him.
Q: Or do you get motivated?
A: I get motivated; I think all the guys here get motivated. He's one of the top running backs in this league. He sat out last year, if I can remember, and he came back and he doesn't look like he's missed a beat. Like I say, he's one of the greatest running backs that have ever played this game and still playing, and we have to face him on Sunday. It's going to be a big challenge for the defensive line but we're ready and I like playing run plays. I like playing the run. It's something I'm good at, and still good at. I'm getting better, so it's going to be a big challenge for me and I'm up to it.
Q: What challenges does the team face if Odell [Beckham] is not there?
A: Guys have to step up, I'm pretty sure they're going to let us know what's going to happen, but guys have to step up. I'm pretty sure Hakeem [Nicks] is going to step up and play the game. It's just like when I wasn't here and the other guys stepped up, but that's a big loss if he's not here. But like I say, it's the next man up and that's the game of football. You never know what's going to happen and that's what makes it so exciting.
Q: Are you guys even thinking about playoffs at this point?
A: We're just thinking about this game right here. This game is more important, all the other games we should've won but we didn't is all in the past now. It's just this game right now and we play this game and hopefully everything falls into place.
RB Rashad Jennings**
Q: The running game has gotten much better the last couple of weeks and now with Nikita Whitlock on injured reserve, how much does that change the momentum built up because it looks like he helped a lot?
A: Yeah, definitely. He's a dynamic player, big player for us. He can play all three aspects of the ball, offense, defense and special teams so he's going to be missed, he can't be replaced. Guys are going to have the opportunity to step up and continue to build on the momentum we've been able to garnish throughout the course of the end of this season.
Q: Given the Vikings defensive front, I hear they are tough, physical, one of the better fronts, so how can you expect to build off your momentum and what can you see in terms of how to attack?
A: They're stout. Their secondary is, too, so it's a good defense we're going against. We've just got to worry about us and making sure we understand the ins and outs of the plays that we're going to be running, finding ways to keep Eli clean, and doing it for four quarters. It will be a good challenge and we're excited to continue the success that we've had both in the pass and the run game.
Q: If Odell's not there, what does that mean for you and the running game?
A: Odell is an outstanding player, it's not a player you replace. It's a player you miss out on the field, but it's a great opportunity for all the other guys in this locker room that we have, completely capable of going out there and getting the job done. I'm excited to see everybody else get an opportunity to step up and find a way to help us get a win.
Q: Obviously there is going to be less passing and more running if he's not there?
A: You never know what's going to happen before going into a game. As a player, I can probably speak for everybody, you're always ready. If we run the ball, we'll be ready. If we pass the ball, we want to remain balanced and we've got the guys in here with the skillset to make sure we stay balanced. We're just going to go out there and play Giants football.