Head Coach Tom Coughlin**
Q:What's going on with Larry Donnell beyond his short-term prognosis? Is there concern beyond that?
A:There's concern or else he'd be able to play. The fact is he's not where they want him to be when they would give him the green light, so he's not ready to go.
Q:He said he had a test Tuesday that turned up something new.
A:Well, he gets a test pretty much every week. So we're in a holding pattern there.
Q:What did you say to your players given what happened yesterday in your division? Really, what has happened in the division since you last played.
A:Take care of your own business. That's basically what it is. We're all aware. It's as interesting to the Redskins as it is to us, no doubt, so it put things into perspective. You've got to take care of your own business and we know that, we've been down that road before so hopefully we'll be able to do that.
Q:This is a team that, even in the leaner years here, you've had success with. Do you think for a moment your group could overlook Washington?
A:No. Not at all. I don't see that as—Washington plays so well at home. I mean, they've done an exceptional job. Their finest output of the year offensively was at home against New Orleans. They ran into a very, very good football in Carolina last weekend and a couple weeks prior they played New England, there's two undefeated teams. They battled and so on and so forth. We have great respect for them and when you see how well the quarterback has played, Cousins had played at home, they've done an outstanding job.
Q:What kind of challenge and how much does it hurt to be without possibly two of your starting offensive linemen?
A: Anytime your starters are out, but we try to be in a position where guys come along and play and play well. That's what we need again, we're going to need that to happen.
Q:What did you see from John Jerry last week that gives you confidence that…
A:John's played a lot of football. John has been a starter here, he's played in the backup capacity. We've always been fortunate to be able to call on him and here we go again.
Q:Was Weston Richburg not practicing yesterday an issue of just not seeing what you needed to see out of him Wednesday or was there any re-injury?
A:There was no re-injury, but he was—obviously he had a few snaps the day before and it didn't work out.
Q:Would you need to make a roster move for a second center if he can't go?
A:We'll see. We'll see.
Q:Back to Larry Donnell for one second, is putting him on injured reserve an option at this point?
A:That's something that would be determined as we go along.
Q:What about Hakeem Nicks? What have you seen…
A:He had a good week of practice, caught the ball well, seemed to pick up with the signals and with the offense. So to what extent is he really prepared? Not going to give you percentages, but I think he's done a good job. He's worked hard, he's studied, he's had extra time with coaches. So I feel confident that the experience will kick in as well and, if called upon, he'd be able to go.
Q:He'll be up Sunday?
Q:How much does special teams play into that?
A:Always. Always plays into it.
Q:Does he play special teams or is that unrealistic at this point?
A:He could play some. He's never done that here. He's always wanted to be a kickoff returner and that kind of thing. We've had him back with the punt return unit, but we've never really had him involved in the special teams. We'll see.
Q:With the production you've received from Odell, do you see things right now in his game that he can do better and add to that production?
A:You're either going to get better or going to get worse and there's no question what he can do. He will be better and he'll continue to grow and develop and know more about the opposition, know more about who he's playing against, know more about what's expected when someone does something defensively to try to adjust to what you're doing. He's going to do nothing but get better.
Q:Do you see Odell as a player who can give you even more than the production he has already provided?
A:I think that happens with everybody. Everybody better be prepared in these next six games to give us more than what we've gotten to this day if we're going to be a team that can be talked about here in a few weeks.
Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo**
Q:Do you think Hakeem Nicks is active Sunday? I guess I should start by asking, has he made enough strides in learning your offense?
A:He's definitely made some progress. He's got some work on our stuff and in the look team. It looks like he's in good shape, he's catching the ball well, and it's coming along nicely.
Q:What do you view him bringing to the table for you guys?
A:He's a big, veteran target, has a lot of experience, has made some plays in stretch runs before. It's good to have him here.
Q:Where do you stand with your offensive line at this point with the possible shuffling of guys, and how confident are you?
A:Very confident, yeah, very confident. We had a good week this week. Dallas (Reynolds) came in, we haven't missed a beat so far up front. He does a nice job directing traffic for us. We'll need a big week from those guys this week, Washington does a nice job up front creating some havoc.
Q:You mentioned that Hakeem has made plays in a stretch run before. Is that something you felt as an offense you needed to add? A lot of guys haven't had this experience with a playoff push.
A:I think Coach said it best when he said he was the best guy out there, and we're fortunate that he was out there. He came in and he's doing a nice job. He's working at it, putting in some extra time learning it, spending some time with Sean (Ryan) and Ryan Roeder, putting the time in after practice and in the evenings. He's had a nice week.
Q:Obviously you talked a couple weeks ago about Eli and Odell and with as many targets as Odell is getting, you want to increase the percentage of completions there. I'm just curious, when you look at Odell, obviously there's a ceiling at some point and we're not seeing it. What do you need to see from him to get better and the idea of getting better?
A:Well, he's done it this week. When you practice, you make mistakes and that's the cycle. You practice, you make mistakes, you fix the mistakes, and you have a chance to execute and move on and learn from there. He's done it a couple times this week in practice and that's the evolution of a young player. When you're a young player, you have to go out, you have to practice, you have to make those mistakes in practice, fix them later in the week in practice, and execute in the game. Not just him, that's all young players, and all players, really. That's just the evolution of it. He's a young player who's been productive and has a chance. He's working at being a pro and that's part of it.
Q:You guys have been self-scouting, self-evaluating during the bye week. right? When you looked at the running game what do you see and what do you think needs to get better there?
A:We saw some concepts that we do better than others--that doesn't mean you get away from things, that means you work at them to improve. You see what individual players, what they do best, and you try to help them where they need help the most. In the run game, we were winning the down at a fairly decent clip. We need to eliminate the zero and negative yardage runs that hurt you. The other thing we do is when we get a chance to have a one-on-one, we need to break an arm tackle and take it to the house, that's something we haven't done.
Q:What did you see from the red zone and what do you need to do to improve in that area?
A:Saw five turnovers. We're number one in the league in turnover ratio, defense and special teams are doing a great job getting us the ball and we're taking care of it fairly well. But half of them, half the giveaways are in the green zone. When you turn the ball over five times down there, you've got problems. Nine penalties, dropped balls, missed throws, and mental errors. Our focus needs to increase the longer you drive the ball and that's a major factor. You have five turnovers, you lose five possessions and five opportunities to score right there off the bat. When the field shrinks and you have longer down and distances to go, it makes it a lot harder and a lot easier to call a defense. That's what we need to do, we need to focus on the details, chase the details and not touchdowns.
Q:When you say of the running game, "We're winning the down consistently," what you mean is that the play is blocked correctly?
A:The play is blocked, we're gaining yards. We need to rip off a couple big ones. We need to minimize the zero and negative yardage runs when we're getting hit in the backfield or whether we just get back to the line of scrimmage or lose one or two. We need to get those out of our system.
Q:It sounds to me, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, it sounds like it's on the backs to do that more than anything else.
A:Well, no. It's everyone's involved in that, it's not one group. Believe me, there's enough to go around and I'm included. For the backs, the biggest thing for the backs is they need to be aware of the situation. When there's one yard to go, they need to get that yard on third and one. When you get one-on-one with a safety, we expect our backs to beat that safety and take one the distance, and we haven't done that yet and it's a challenge on them to do that. We expect them to do it and we count on them to do it.
Q:Do you anticipate continuing to distribute their workload the way you have in terms of rotating those guys or might we see changes there?
A:At this point in time.
Q:When you talk about breaking an arm tackle, which back has been the best at that so far?
A:They've each had their moments. They've each had their moments. I don't know that one sticks out one way or the other. Andre (Williams) is a big, physical guy and if he gets a body one-on-one in the hole he's pretty good with it. Shane (Vereen) has some wiggle to him. They each have their own skillset. Rashad (Jennings) does a nice job, he's had some nice second half runs in games where he's come out. But we just need to play the way we're capable of there.
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo**
Steve Spagnuolo: Happy Thanksgiving, by the way; hope everybody had a great day yesterday. Last game was a while ago so we're on to something else now right, on to the Redskins, guys have done a good job all week. I'll just open up for questions but we're looking forward to obviously getting back and playing a game. It feels like forever that we've played one and with that, I'll let you fire away.
Q:What does Price [Amukamara] do for you?
A:We know he's a good football player. I really thought right before he got hurt, I thought he was really coming along and playing real well for us. Look, if there's a sense of security, I think Jayron [Hosley] did a really good job coming in. When Trumaine McBride went out there, I thought he did a good job for us, and when Trevin Wade came in. Anytime you lose a player of Prince's caliber, it makes it a challenge. I think the guys have done a good job to this point. We're glad we have him back, he was practicing without playing in games a couple weeks ago, because he was still getting in the groove. Hopefully he can knock the rust off really quick in the game and he can help us.
Q:What kind of difference can he make for you guys?
A:Again, I didn't call anything differently when he wasn't there, I probably won't call anything differently now that he is in there. He's played in this league a long time, he's a solid pro, we rely on him as one of our real good football players, and to have one on either side, that being DRC [Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie], I think there is a sense of security there for us.
Q:What do you need to see from your safeties to improve? Coach [Coughlin] said it's been a weak spot at times, what do you need to see at that spot?
A:We've talked as a group of safeties, I think Dave Merritt does a great job, but the tackling, I think if you asked every safety, they wish they were tackling better. I think they all wish that they would make a few more plays in the pass game, we've talked about that, and I think they would all want to do better with the communication part of it. We worked a lot on that this past bye week in terms of watching tape and doing communication calls. I will say this about the safeties group, I walked off the practice field yesterday, and I went and got something to eat, and when I came back through the meeting rooms, all four of them -- Cooper [Taylor] and Craig [Dahl], Landon [Collins] and Brandon [Meriweather] -- were in the meeting room by themselves, just the four of them, working on getting all those things squared away, so that's encouraging.
Q:Not going back to the Patriots to ask you X's and O's but you mentioned Craig Dahl. He at least opened my eyes, the idea that you had him one up with [Rob] Gronkowski. Facing a guy like Jordan Reed this week, what did you like about the matchup with Dahl and is that something you would like to be part of your…?
A:Yeah, Craig made that really good play over on the sideline and, truth be told, it was supposed to be a little something different to help him over there, but he did a nice job on his own. Craig is a competitive guy who knows exactly what he's doing. We know that no matter who he goes against, he's going to battle. Some of those situations where he ended up there was not exactly how we had drawn it up, but because he can unwind things in the middle of the game, that's a nice safety valve for us. It doesn't go exactly the way you draw it up, and he gets it corrected, so that was good and we'll need that again this week. I think Reed is one of the quality tight ends in this league. He runs like a wide receiver, and he has a great catch radius because he's so big, and I think the quarterback is not afraid to throw him the 9 route, back shoulder fades, slants, I think he has a real comfort level with throwing to him. Whoever covers him over there, whether we're all by ourselves covering him, doubling him, whatever we do, we have to find a way to keep him from wrecking the football game.
Q:Any concerns about Landon Collins and his confidence level at this point?
A:No, he's a confident guy, he's an Alabama guy, they're all confident. I get where you're going, I get why you're asking, look we all would have -- I know him as much as anybody would have -- liked to make that play. He bounced right back and he'll play football. We worked…on it this week and he realizes what's at stake.
Q:Do you have to take anything off his shoulders though? There's been some talk, I think coach Merritt said, "There's a lot on his shoulders and there's a lot of responsibility" for a rookie.
A:I think it feels that way because we're talking about a guy who's only played 10 games in the league. After you get ten games under your belt, and you've been in the same position, and it's been relatively the same things for 10 weeks, I think Landon will tell you he feels comfortable with the game plan. Somebody is always going to show you something different, like I just got done talking about Craig with unwinding, now Craig has had, help me out, eight years under his belt or whatever it's been. It's a little bit different for Landon where he hasn't seen all those things. He's a confident guy, we have a lot of trust in him, he is still a rookie, but I think he's playing a little bit better than that. We need him to play well to win.
Q:What have you seen in JPP….?
A:I think he's just battling the comfort level. I know you guys have probably talked to him and it's getting used to a lot of different things every game. With him, it is a brand scheme, he wasn't here in the spring, but I tell you what, he and Robert Nunn have been knocking out, they've put extra time in, I think he obviously feels more comfortable this week than he did last week and hopefully that'll pay off.
Q:He says he would like to get rid of that club at some point and get to a glove. Is that limiting him in terms of certain specific things he can do? Shedding blocks or anything?
A:He'd probably be a better guy to ask than me. My guess would be yeah, you would want use of your fingers. I know they're working on it all the time, even during the game he's over there trying to get it better, and I would imagine that would be frustrating to somebody in this particular business where you need that. My guess is that if he can get something, I think it would help him a little bit. I thought he made some, going back to the Patriots game, a couple plays there. I thought he looked like the old JPP. I would like to get that every play.
Q:Do you see offenses blocking or attacking differently now that he's back, if that's the right way to ask?
A:You can see on film that in obvious passing situations, they'll use a guy to chip and I think that's something that you're going to see when you've got somebody of his caliber out there rushing the passer. They have to decide where they think he is, whether he's like he was a year ago, or two years ago, or if he's different because of the injury he's dealing with. I think he's always going to face that, I really do.
Q:Do you see a significant difference from game one to two for him? What areas does he maybe have to even get better?
A:The first game, I remember he was even flipping trying to get comfortable on which side should he be on. He doesn't put his right hand down now, he puts his left hand down, so I think it took a little bit of time to get adjusted to that. I think the second game we saw a little bit more of him, especially in the passing situations, but I think the run game. I think he's been okay there, we always preach in terms of defense of using your hands, and even when you're out here in practice and he's got it wrapped up, it's a little tougher to do, but I do see him using it more and more. That's encouraging and I think that's good.
Q:Does Kirk Cousins look like a different guy when you watch him now as opposed to Week 3?
A:Confident, I mean I just think their offense, especially the New Orleans game, is pretty efficient. They're a very efficient offense in my opinion when they're very balanced. They're very balanced when they're running the ball effectively and he's the best, I know our people here that research, Jon Berger and his crew, he's the best play-action pass quarterback in the league in terms of quarterback rating. That's a challenge for us and I think that all opens up when they run the football. It always goes back to stopping the run first and getting the thing to be one dimensional. I think he's really good when they're really balanced. It's our challenge to make sure that doesn't happen.
Q:How much better can your defense be? You're getting a bunch of guys back.
A:I didn't mention that, that's funny. Of course, we've played once already with the guys who were there or not there, but DRC didn't play the last time, Markus Kuhn didn't, JPP wasn't here, and I'm missing one other. It's good to have those guys and I'm hoping that's an advantage for us.
Q:Can I ask one other JPP question?
Q:His mindset and the way he's come back, thankful to be alive, and everything that trickles down from that. In your experience with players, not with this injury in particular, but with players, can that mental approach help him as he makes strides in the physical part of the game?
A:I do. I think it helps anybody when you're faced with that kind of situation and all of a sudden you're glad to be, whether you put the term alive there, or glad to be able to be back doing what you love. I think we all tend to get a little bit more humble and more appreciative of what we're doing. I think what it tends to do is make you value each day, and every rep, or every time you're out on the field in this case. I do think it does make a difference in players and I'm trying to think of another example like that but I can't right now. There are a number of them around the league where guys get into situations like that and they basically get a second chance. It's nice to see when guys take advantage of them.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn**
Q:Hakeem [Nicks] on special teams.
A:He didn't do a whole lot of that when he first was here, he had a couple kickoff returns and we're trying to find roles for him right now as we go along. We're trying to get him integrated in the offense and see what he can do. Obviously he can be a kick returner but [we'll] see what else he can add to it.
Q:Sounds like you would prefer not to use him if possible?
A:No, we'd love to use him but it's just kind of getting him integrated into the whole offense, and special teams at this point, seeing where he can fit in if he's going to be out there, so trying to figure that out.
Q:Would working him into special teams determine if he's active or not?
A:I don't think so.
Q:Obviously they got a kickoff return for a touchdown on you guys, is that kind of an easy motivational thing for you?
A:I hope so. It should upset you if you're a competitor and they did a good job blocking it, we didn't do a good job covering it, and so I hope the guys are motivated by seeing that during the week.
Q:And they had a second guy run one back against the…
A:Yeah, [Andre] Roberts did, yeah. They're talented and they have very good returners, and the coach does a good job with the blocking scheme. A lot of it is what Mike Westhoff did with the Jets for a number of years. He [Ben Kotwica] was his assistant so they're well versed in what they're doing.
Q:With a game like this, it might be a little moist and rain, do special teams have to embrace the fact that you can steal the crucial points, especially as you're beginning this playoff push?
A:I think this time of the year, you're always expecting some type of weather when you play in the northeast, probably lucky it's raining and not snow. You have to be prepared for anything and we're always aware of the field conditions down there, have to make sure of your footing.
Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr**
Q:Did you watch the games yesterday?
A:Yeah I did.
Q:Good day for the Giants?
A:Yeah, good day.
Q:When you see what's going on in the rest of the division, do you see this as a big opportunity for you guys?
A:Absolutely, but you have to come out and take care of business. Can't overlook anybody ever even with the lead in the division. One game at a time.
Q:You've always spoken about how you break down your own game and what you want to improve on. These next six games, obviously for your team, but how important is it for you to see your game improve to another level?
A:Absolutely. It's just that time of year where everybody needs to step it up, we all need to come to work and bring our A+ game every single day and it will translate on Sunday. I'm going to try and get better each and every day.
Q:You guys finished with a flourish last year, but as a team you weren't in contention. You were pretty vocal about the numbers were great but you wanted to be in contention and play in big games. Do you feel it? Do you feel different this year?
A:You can definitely feel it in the atmosphere, it's just buzzing around us. We all have a good feel about it and we're all going to work for it. We know what we have at hand and we know we control our own destiny.
Q:Do you see this as a chance to kind of put the hammer down? If you win Sunday, you have a two-game lead in the division with only five games left.
A:It's definitely a big game, but we don't really look at it as that. You've just got to come out and give it our best Sunday and hopefully come out with the W.
Q:When you're watching the games, are you rooting?
A:I'm not really rooting, I love football, so I just love watching good football.
Q:Was there any part of you while you're watching your rivals losing--?
A:It's a good feeling.
Q:Washington has been a much better team at home than they have been on the road, clearly their record indicates that. Have you seen that on film?
A:Just come to play. I don't know what it is. They're a good football team and it's going to be a tough challenge. We played them already and it's tough to beat a team twice in the same year so we have to get it done.
Q:What went right for you guys in that game in Week Three that made you feel good about this matchup?
A:I think it's just the vibe the team had. I felt as if everybody was on the same page and we were all clicking, things were just going our way. Hopefully we can get a little more of that energy and bring it a little bit more.
Q:You weren't around here when Hakeem Nicks was one of the stars in the room. Just curious of your impressions of seeing Hakeem this week on the practice field?
A:I've seen him and first time I met him, I had to put my hand up to his. I was like, "You know, we've got to kill the awkwardness and see what's going on." That's kind of how we broke the ice and we've been cool ever since he's been here. He knows what's going on, he knows how to win. From what I've seen, he's been great and he always will be great.
Q:So what was the measurement?
A:It's pretty much the same. His may be a little bigger, I don't know, I couldn't remember. We were kind of just like "Real quick, alright."
Q:When was this?
A:When I first met him, when he first got up here.
Q:So he didn't ask to borrow your gloves?
A:No, he can't fit in my gloves. He can't wear that.
Q:It's been a couple days past a year since you made the big catch. Do you ever think about how much your life has changed since then?
A:Every day. Since it happened, it's crazy how much things have changed in 365 days. God is good.
Q:As much as you've produced this season and in some games in particular, do you look at this six-game stretch and say that you can do more to help this team win?
A:Absolutely. I take a lot of pride in myself and what I want to do for the team, same as everybody else should. We all have pride in our jobs. Hopefully I can take it to another level and finish out the season strong.
Q:What's the biggest change? Your celebrity? You had confidence before but is that the biggest change?
A:It's just everything. I don't really think my confidence changed. It's not so simple to answer, it's just everything.