Coach Coughlin: We were obviously very pleased with the game, it was a tough football game. You're talking about a game in the fourth quarter with a very, very tight points differential. Plays had to be made at the right time and I thought a lot of the critical plays were made at that time with the stop, the forced punt, the driving of the ball, the big third down conversion between Eli and Odell, the running of the ball late in the game. I would have liked to have gotten the first down there at the end and put it under two minutes and they had no timeouts and we could have knelt, but it didn't work that way. We got the field goal and there was a minimal amount of time for Tampa Bay to maneuver the ball down the field at the end of the game. And so in effect, we accomplished what we had set out to do. I thought our defense bounced back and you cannot ignore the 59-yard run or the 68-yard pass. Had we been able to defend those things better, and there were at least two missed tackles on the 59-yard run, those statistics would certainly have been different. I think against an outstanding running back, (Doug) Martin, gained 31 yards, I thought that was a huge plus for our team. Our ability to hold up after sudden changem for defense to go out and force field goals and not touchdowns and to have done that on a couple different occasions throughout the game, that was a huge plus for us. I think from a special teams standpoint, the 53-yard field goal by Josh Brown was outstanding—an excellent hold by Brad Wing on that particular play. The one punt, we punted once in the game, and he hit a bomb, it was a 64-yard punt, which forced a very, very good returner to go back and have to regroup, muffed a little bit and it became a net of 63, which is outstanding as well. The types of things that don't go in the statistics—the punt that Dwayne Harris was able to finesse over to one side as if the ball was coming that way and the ball hit and rolled into the endzone, allowing us to start at the 20 instead of inside the 10. A very good job by the young defender that we had just brought up, (Tramain) Jacobs, who was able to work against a very, very fast gunner and still distracted enough along with Dwayne that the ball was allowed to go into the endzone. There were plays of that nature throughout the game. The offense took advantage of turnovers when they were there, they put, I think 17 points on the board off of turnovers. We ran the ball well, we had some powerful runs. We had 35 minutes time of possession which was a huge plus. We did turn the ball over twice and that allowed them to have the ball, plus the fourth and two that we didn't make, I would call that a turnover as well, in terms of just momentum shifting there. But we were able to overcome those things and to come away with a win.
Q: From a pass rushing standpoint, you did get a couple hits on Winston but nothing in the sack department. What did you make of the defensive line and particularly Jason Pierre-Paul?
A: Obviously the guy hadn't played, so he was rusty in terms of that. But I thought he got some great jumps off the snap and I thought his inside move was an outstanding move. Late in the game when we needed to be able to rush the passer, he forced the passer to pull it down and run outside to the right on a couple of occasions, which made him a little bit more uncomfortable when he was not standing in the pocket releasing the ball in that way. He was having to throw the ball on the move. I thought that for the first time out of the box, obviously our players were happy that he was out there with us. And he's going to do nothing but get better.
Q: Based on what you saw, are you comfortable with him having an expanded role once he gets back into football shape?
A: He's in football shape and he's in outstanding condition. Football role? He will assume whatever roles we need to design in order for us to be able to maximize his ability.
Q: What went into your thinking to use him pretty much exclusively on the right side?
A: That's where he plays, he plays on the right side. That's where he is.
Q: I know it's a different year, different seasons and I know you'll talk about the Patriots more on Wednesday. Is there a common denominator to why you guys have had success against them before? You've always faced them when they've been flying high.
A: I don't know whether this is an attempt to get out in front of it…I really haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about the Patriots yet. As soon as we finish this (call) and I have one more meeting with the players, I will then switch gears and start to prepare myself for the Patriot game. But at this point in time, let me stick with this game, please.
Q: Anything on Johnathan Hankins?
A: Yes, Johnathan, unfortunately, did tear his pec and he will have to have surgery.
Q: So that's a six-month thing sort of like Will Beatty at this point?
A: Well, he'll be placed on IR and hopefully he will rehab as fast as possible. I don't have a calendar date in terms of how long it will take him to get back, but he does have time.
Q: With Will Beatty, where do you stand with your offensive line and how do you plan to proceed with him? I believe the date is coming up the middle of the week.
A: Yeah, the date is later in the week and we'll make a decision at that point in time.
Q: Is the decision whether he's going to be placed on the roster or not or just what to do with him when he gets on the roster?
A: No, it doesn't have anything to do with what to do with him, we know what to do with him. It'll be whether or not he moves onto the roster.
Q: What, at this point, would prevent him from doing that?
A: Will didn't play yesterday. Is there anything you want to ask me about the game? Will is going to practice this week and the decision will be made. That's all you're going to get, I'm sorry, but that's it. Do you have any questions about the game?
Q: What did you think of your offensive line and how they played in that game?
A: The quarterback, I think, was hit twice and I believe we rushed the ball for 114 yards. They were very quick, they did penetrate with the linebackers, they came off of the edge with their pressure, but by in large, I think our guys did well.
Q: How big of a loss is Hankins? He's been an anchor for you for a year and a half and where do you go next to fill that void, especially the run stopper?
A: Well, that's the thing, John has been a guy that's anchored in the middle of that defensive line for a few years. We'll definitely miss his presence. He knocked the ball out yesterday, he's the one that forced the first fumble recovered by Brinkley. He'll be missed, there's no doubt. He's a strong, strong player inside and he can be a factor against the pass as well as the run. We will definitely miss him.
Q: Speaking of Jasper Brinkley, how did you think he did in the middle?
A: I thought he played well, I thought he did. I thought he benefitted from having play time extended a week ago and he is a force in the middle. He's a guy that has size and he is able to recognize things and he is physical.
Q: Was it just a matter of him having to catch up with the playbook? I know he got to the team late.
A: The idea of being ready to go when you're needed is an essential part of this game and it just worked its way out that way.
Q: Do you see him taking that position on now going forward as the starter?
A: Well, we'll see, we'll see how that goes. He did play well.
Q: And we never got to ask you either, Jon Beason's injuries…what was the extent of them? What led to the decision to IR him?
A: The decision was—Jon has been an outstanding leader here. He is a man of principle. He is a guy who loves to play, loves to compete. But the inability to really put the injuries to rest and be able to have some kind of an idea when, in fact, he could play and could be able to stay out there, there just wasn't any answers to those kinds of things. So unfortunately the roster starts to churn and you need to be able to get some people in a position to help you play and win and so that decision was made.
Q: With seven games to go, how much different is the feeling for you knowing you're in first place and you've got a shot?
A: Obviously, it's a great thing. It's a wonderful thing to be able to be in the hunt, to be relevant. And each week is extremely meaningful and the players are well aware of that. Like I spoke to them on Saturday night, we talked about the fact that, "Hey, you work a whole winter, you work all summer, you spend all your time preparing and if I was to tell you at the midpoint of the season that you were in first place in the division, had a very meaningful circumstance within the division, would it make a difference? You bet it would, you bet it would." So obviously we have many, many important and big games to go, but it's good to have that factor involved.
WR Rueben Randle
Q: The last game you came out of it and you had tweaked your hamstring a little more, how did you come out of this game? Same, better, worse? How'd you do?
A: It's still a little sore, but it's better than the past weeks. As much as I can rest it, I try to rest it to allow me to go longer in the game. Just trying to find a way to manage my way around it.
Q: Is this something you're just going to have to deal with for the duration here?
A: No, probably one more week and then after the bye, hopefully I'll be where I can go out there and play full speed.
Q: A lot of players on this team, you weren't here for the Super Bowl games against the Patriots, how are you preparing for this game? Obviously there are a lot of people who do remember these matchups for being pretty significant in those games.
A: We're trying to approach it as another week. Another week that we have to go out and win to remain at the top of this division and I think that's anyone's outlook of this week. We've got to look forward to the challenge, we all know that they're a great team. Have to step up to it.
Q: Do you think you'll find out a little more about yourselves and your team, obviously this is a pretty good step up in competition—no offense to the other teams—but they're undefeated. Is this a pretty good test to see the progress you guys are making and where you're at at this point in the season?
A: Yes, most definitely. They're definitely undefeated, one of the top teams in this League. So, like I said, it's going to be a challenge for us. Go out there and step up to the plate and see where we stand and we want to be one of the better teams in this League and this is the challenge that we need.
Q: How much does a team that relishes going up against a team like this?
A: Yeah, definitely, but our main focus is try to prepare like we will do any other week. Don't try to do anything out of the ordinary, prepare like we prepare, make sure we are all standing on the same page, and go out and compete at a high level.
Q: You think it's easier because there are so few people who are left from those Super Bowl teams to be able to do that and just focus on the game and not the history of it?
A: I think Coach Coughlin does a great job of making sure we all understand the situation and don't get ahead of ourselves. Just go out there and try to make our jobs as easy as possible and not a lot of thinking going on.
Q: Coach Coughlin was just a minute ago talking to us about just the prospect of being nine games in and being in first place and you guys have used the word "relevant." Can you talk a little bit about there not being high expectations from the outside for this team and being in first place going into this week with seven more to go.
A: We all knew we were capable of being the top team in this division. It was all about us going out there and making sure that we did it on the field, not just talk about it, and rely on other things. I don't find it a surprise to us that we're at the top. We've just got to continue to build as a team and get better each and every week to remain there.
LB Jonathan Casillas
Q:…the bounce back effort that the defense had after the Saints game and just how you guys kept it together and overcame that?
A: We had to turn that relentless meter back up. I feel like we gave the Saints a lot of plays a few weeks ago, they earned a lot for sure, but when you leave guys wide open and they're just catching passes unabated, that's pretty easy. Drew Brees is going to pick you apart all day long and we didn't have a good outing. We definitely wanted to bounce back and have a good showing. It all started in practice, we had a great week of practice and it showed up in the game.
Q: Do you think with some of the inconsistencies on the defense, was it more a result of injuries or just the players trying to jell together and grasp what Coach [Steve] Spagnuolo was teaching?
A: Whenever you have a first-year defense, you have a lot of moving parts and you have guys playing different positions. There's always going to be a little bit of time to jell together, a little bit of an adjustment period where sometimes you don't react on a certain play as fast as you would if you were running it for two years. That's the case with us for sure, and we're trying to improve every week and we already had a big turnaround from last week to this week. We have to keep trying to improve, continue studying, continue to be pros off the field, and in our notebooks. We have to continue to get better in the classroom and it'll show on the field.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the anticipation of playing the Patriots, obviously undefeated, Super Bowl Champions, and what kind of test this is for you guys to see where you are at this stage?
A: Every game is big, but arguably the best team in the NFL is coming to our stadium and it's going to be a big game. Tom Brady has played a lot of big games and he's won a lot of big games on the road as well as home games. He's consistently done it and they're riding high right now. Their offense is a well-oiled machine, they can run the ball, pass the ball, inside, outside, their tight ends are good, they use all the receivers, so we have to be on point. It's all about this week's practice, how we're going to approach practice, like we did last week, we had a great week of practice leading up to the game. We had a good showing and we have to do the same thing this week. New England is never not going to be a difficult task and that's a tribute to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick as the coach, and all the guys that move around in and out the building. They just do a great job and we're definitely going to have to play lights out to beat these guys at home.
Q: You played for them last year, so how much of an advantage do you think you have , having practiced against Brady and that offense, knowing what they do well, what they don't do well, or is it just a matter of just looking at the tape and studying what's current?
A: The interesting thing about New England is they game plan every week and every week is different. They attack teams differently. They run everything on offense so it's like they have tendencies but they're not as strong as other teams. A lot of teams stick to their tendencies and they do it like that and that's how they beat you. New England picks a weakness or they see where they have favorable mismatches and they attack them. You won't really know their game plan until the day of the game and then you realize what they're trying to do. That's how you have to play them, because they're so good and the offense is so broad and wide, and Tom Brady has been doing it for 15 years. It's easy for him to just attack a team one way and then the next week play totally different; passing, then suddenly you're running the ball 35 times, so they can do that. It'll be studying what they like to do, what they're good at, trying to find out the little tendencies that we can find, and then game day, we have to be able to stop the early surge and be able to predict and see what they're going to run towards us to attack us that day.
Q: Is there a sense of excitement to get JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] back, Prince [Amukamara] maybe back this weekend, you're in first place, all these things in a positive direction?
A: Oh yes. Me being just a big fan of football in general, I played against the Giants in the past and Pierre-Paul has always been, I felt like, one of the best defensive players in the league, and it was exciting to have him back out yesterday. I always try and go around and talk to all the guys on the defense, especially my linebackers, just say a word to them before the game, and letting them know I'm locked in and try to see were their head is at. I told him [JPP] that yesterday, I'm a big fan of yours and I'm just happy that you're back, man, and it's good to see you on our sideline, man. He played well, he still has to his feet underneath him just like anybody else would their first game back after a while. I'm just happy for a guy like who suffered a very traumatic injury and to be back, to be playing, and doing the thing he loves to do.
Q: How was Jasper [Brinkley] in the huddle taking control of the defense? I know that's sort of a big void whenever [Jon] Beason is not there. How did Brinkley do?
A: Brinkley did really well. There was some responsibility taken off the mike linebacker like how it normally would be if Beason was there, with Devon Kennard basically taking the call from the coach, but Brinkley did a lights out job. He actually had got a game ball today, he had an amazing game, he played really fast, and he showed up like he was the mike linebacker. He played mike linebacker in a defense he was in before and it showed yesterday. He played lights out and you couldn't have played the position better.