Coach Coughlin: We're excited to be preparing against a very good New York Jet football team. I'll just review a couple things for you, you know them well. They are plus-four in the turnover ratio. They're 30:54 time of possession is 11th highest in the league. Of interest, I thought, was the second half in which they've scored 76 points in the third and 85 points in the fourth quarter. Their offense is 14th in the National Football League—14th in the run, 20th in the pass. They average 29 runs a game, which is second in the NFL. They're the first offensive team in the green zone, scoring touchdowns at 73 percent. They've given up 14 sacks, which is tied for the fewest in the NFL. They have an outstanding veteran offensive line. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is having an outstanding year with 20 touchdowns, tied for ninth-most in the NFL. They're a talented wide receiver group and Brandon Marshall is the fifth most-targeted player in the National Football League. Defensively, they're third in the NFL—first versus the run, giving up 84.4 per game, 12th versus the pass. They're the number one defense in the red zone, giving up touchdowns at 38.5 percent. They have the third-most takeaways in the NFL. Very talented front, led by (Muhammad) Wilkerson. Linebackers led by (David) Harris and the secondary by (Darrelle) Revis and (Antonio) Cromartie. Their special teams is led by punter (Ryan) Quigley and kicker (Randy) Bullock. They're 13th on punt return with (Jeremy) Kerley at 9.3 and 16th in kickoff coverage at 23.8 per. It's December in the NFL and both teams are fighting for an opportunity in their respective conferences. Let me just tell you about our practice today. Today who will not practice is (Larry) Donnell, (Brandon) Meriweather, (Marshall) Newhouse. Newhouse has a back, Meriweather with a knee, Donnell with a neck. (Justin) Pugh will practice in a limited fashion, (Weston) Richburg will practice, as well, in a limited fashion.
Q: How do you shuffle your offensive line with those injuries or is there hope that Richburg and Pugh will be back in their usual spots on Sunday?
A: Well, the hope is that they both make it. Whether that's realistic, I'll let you know. Today, I think, hopefully, Pugh will be able to go and feel better after practicing and then he can increase the workload the next day. And we'll do what we have to do on the right side. With Newhouse missing today, Hart will be in there, have an opportunity there. We'll see how Newhouse does tomorrow.
Q: What went into John Jerry being on that side and Geoff Schwartz on the other side? Was that you just wanting to have Jerry specifically on the right side?
A: Schwartz was on the left so that he could communicate with the rookie left tackle. Jerry was on the right, and both Jerry and Newhouse are veterans.
Q: In the past, the Jets have kind of brought out the best in your team. Do you believe that this could happen this week with the emotional game against the Jets?
A: Well, I do and I think we're going to bounce back and play a much better, complete football game than we did last weekend.
Q: Compared to how things went with Jordan Reed when you faced the Washington Redskins last week, how would you characterize and kind of compare that to what you will face in the Jets tight ends this week?
A: The Jets use their tight ends in a number of different ways. They're factors primarily in the red zone and down on the goal line area. They use Kellen Davis as a protector, he does an outstanding job of that. They wall off the front and give the quarterback an opportunity to go downfield to the talented wide receiver group.
Q: There are some teams who have faced the Jets that have sort of abandoned the run against their front. The Patriots, in particular, I don't think ran the ball very much.
A: Nine times.
Q: Is that something you would consider?
A: Well, I'd consider anything, but I would rather play like they play, to be honest with you, I'd rather have 29 runs, too. I think we'd be a much better team if we were balanced that way. But the Patriots, your question deals with how people strategically plan and play—the Patriots will plan according to what success, obviously, they think they can have. If it doesn't regard the run—all the way back to, I remember, Pittsburgh years and years ago, you might remember as well, I think they threw it 65 times on a Monday night to open the season or something. So they do what they believe they can do and they take good care of the ball while they're doing it. So however you can move the ball, that's the way to go.
Q: You've had the running back by committee, but if a guy gets hot, are you opposed to just leaving him in there?
A: No, but what's hot and when does it happen?
Q: Six yards, five yards, two yards.
A: I'm not opposed to anything. We've done it that way in the past many times. We have some people that we can utilize on first and second down, and we have a good player we can utilize on third down, and that's the way we've played.
Q: We've seen obviously that Eli Manning can't be responsible for everything that happens, but this time of year and these big games, how much do you need him to and expect him to, sort of, rise above the circumstances?
A: Well, he has to. He's our guy and he's done it so many times before. You just said a mouthful. What am I going to tell you other than, perhaps, something that's irrelevant about somebody who should catch the ball—you've got to catch the ball when the ball is thrown to you, as well. That's part of the responsibility. We all know—I had a coach in college that believed a couple bad things happened when you threw it, but that's not the case today in this league. So guys have got to catch the ball.
Q: The fact that you've seen him to do it before--rise to the occasion when things may be collapsing around him--does that give you and the team a sense of confidence heading into the stretch run?
A: No doubt, no doubt. He can do it, he's done it before. We've got to have some help. He's not out there by himself. People have got to—they've got to extend themselves this time of year. If it's that important to them, extend yourselves, and by that, I mean, hey, it's no different than you guys—go to office early, stay late, make sure you're responsible for you assignments, make sure you're prepared, make sure you know the guy you're going to play against, do everything in your power. We're in December now, there's not many games left to play. There's no reason not to commit yourself totally and completely to something you've spent your life wishing and hoping for. That's the attitude I take.
Q: Curious about JPP, is this a part of his process with the hand or did something happen to him?
A: No, it's just that his hand is sore. If that's the case, then we'll put him on there, but it's nothing that he can't deal with.
Q: How about Donnell, where is he with his neck? Are you just waiting?
A: He's in the process of trying to get better.
Q: I hate to go down the list, but Devon Kennard?
A: He's going to practice. You saw him limping in the game, that's why we put him on there. But he told me this morning he's going.
Q: It says on here, not practicing. That changed?
A: He's practicing, he's going to try it.
Q: They seem to go as Marshall goes. How much of a weapon is he for that offense?
A: As I've said, he's clearly having an outstanding year and he has been targeted any number of times. He's a big, strong guy that can go above the defense and make plays. He's also done a nice job blocking for the run game. He's certainly making a strong contribution to their team.
Quarterback Eli Manning**
Q: With so much at stake, does the rivalry between the Jets and Giants take a backseat?
A: I think, yeah, it's a big game for both teams and I think that's how we look at it. It's probably not as big of a rivalry as you think, we only play every four years. A lot of these guys have never played them. You see each other in preseason. So I think we're just worried about, it's a game that's important for our season and the possible outcome and looking at it that way.
Q: Because of the rough start last week, how important is it to get off to a good start this week and make sure your fans are behind you quick?
A: Well yeah, you always try to get off to a fast start, but it's just about the whole game—making good decisions, playing smart football, putting us in a position to win the game at the end.
Q: The last two times you guys have played in the regular season it seemed to be a springboard for you guys, you won the Super Bowl both times. Are you hoping that that will happen now that you guys are being reunited?
A: Well, just hoping we can go out there and play well and get a win. They're a good team, they're a good defense, they've got a good scheme and good players so we've got to be at our best and we've got to play our best football. Just hopefully we can make some plays and get in position to win the game and in the fourth quarter, make the plays we need.
Q: It's no secret your offensive line is beat up. How does that affect you going in?
A: Hopefully, we get some guys back. We had a couple of them practice today. But I have great confidence in those guys and for me, my focus is going to be down the field, reading coverages, trying to get the ball to receivers. Hopefully, we can run the ball well, get in good down and distance. Whoever is out there, I've got confidence and faith they'll do their job and give us an opportunity to make the plays.
Q: We're still not sure if Darrelle Revis is going to play, he's going through the concussion protocol. Can you talk about what a potential matchup that would be with him and Odell Beckham Jr?
A: Yeah, Darrelle is a terrific player, gone against him a few times. I'm sure they'd match him up on Odell. We're still going to throw the ball to him, so you get that good matchup. Again, our concern is just trying to find completions, trying to find ways to move the ball—whoever that might be on.
Q: What is so different about their defensive front that makes them so incredibly good in getting to the quarterback because they got a ton of hits, not necessarily sacks, but hits?
A: They're big guys and they're athletic. They do a good job sometimes bringing different pressures as well. Their front four is a lot of size and they'll do some twists and moving around. They tend to change up from week to week and give a lot of different looks and try to confuse the offensive line and the quarterback. So we've got to do a great job in our preparation and block them up and have enough time to get the ball down the field.
Q: Teams have not been able to run against them at all, and then obviously when they make an offense one-dimensional, that's a really nasty thing to have to deal with. Do you guys have to get some run game going or is it possible to even beat them if you are one-dimensional?
A: No, I think you've got to get the run game going. You've got to try to get something, we've got to run the ball, we've got to get some positive runs. You can't be stuck throwing it every down versus them. And when you run it, you can't be going backwards and getting zero gains because then that puts you in bad second and third down possibilities. They're big and a lot of times, they load the box. They're not playing a whole lot of two-high safeties. Usually their safeties are down in the box, so there's always an extra guy down there. We've got to do a good job of finding runs and being sound with our discipline and blocking them up.
Q: What about using the pass to set up the run?
A: Yeah. Again, that safety is going to be down there, so they have an extra guy, but we've got to throw the ball, but we also have to run it—they both should complement each other.
Q: Do you put much pressure on yourself this time of year to sort of rise up to the occasion no matter what the circumstances are around you?
A: I try not to put more pressure on myself than there needs to be, just try to go out there and do my job. Have a game plan, know it, study the defense, have a great understanding of what they're trying to do, what their responsibilities are in the defense, try to be able to get the ball out quickly, and get it to our playmakers.
Q: Was there any change in the practice this week because you guys had a bye, you had an opportunity to get some rest then come out against the Redskins and pretty much put a stranglehold on the division and you didn't do it. Was there any change this week?
A: No, no change in practice this week. Today was the first day at it, thought we had a good practice and just try and get ready for the Jets.
Q: Tom Coughlin earlier was telling us he was asking players to extend themselves in December and kind of implored everybody to step up a little bit. Was that the message he delivered to you guys?
A: Yeah, I think just kind of talked about going all-in or talked about now. It's just about not doing the talk, but actually making it happen. And taking that extra effort to make sure you have the game plan, you have your assignments, you have everything down so you can go out there practice fast, play fast on game day. So it's just making that total commitment to knowing what your assignments are.
Q: Have you seen that in practice? Are guys making that commitment?
A: Today was kind of the first day we got challenged. Practice is kind of two-fold where that's where you're going to make some of your mistakes in practice because everything just gets put in and we'll have time to hopefully look at the practice film, look at the game plan a little bit more, study it, so we can be sound on what we're doing. As long as we're cleaning up the mistakes, not repeating the mistakes, and fix them so we can go out there on game day and play fast and try to eliminate some of the mistakes.
Q: The Jets have been one of the best red zone defenses this season. Is special attention being put into red zone efficiency?
A: We'll get a plan for that, so we'll attack that tomorrow. Haven't looked a whole lot at it, but they're good against the run down there, not letting teams run the ball in. They do a good job of taking away the playmakers, so we've got to have a great plan and execute it. But that will obviously be a big part of the game plan.
Q: Are they different than the Rex Ryan defenses you faced with the Jets?
A: Yeah they're different, they're different than the Rex Ryan stuff. There may be some similarities and they do like to bring pressure, they do like to blitz, they play a lot of man. But a little different just in some of the things that they do, though.
Q: Do you think this Jets-Giants rivalry is a little bit overblown, the fact you don't play them as much?
A: Right. Yeah, we play them every preseason, but this is the third time I've played them. So yeah, it's not all that often that you play them. A lot of these guys have never played them at all. I think sometimes it gets pumped up to make it a big game. I think this season being a little later in the year, it's usually a big game because of the effect it can have on the seasons of both teams.
Q: When you were out there on Sunday, did it look strange when you looked at the offensive line and saw so many guys in different spots?
A: A lot of times, we're just, hey, you're calling the plays and going. You put the confidence in those guys. All the guys have been in there playing this season. Obviously Bobby Hart, his first time getting some action. I thought he came in there and did some good stuff and played hard and had a good understanding of what we were doing, what was going on. The more experience he can get, the better off we'll be.
Q: Do you say anything to a guy like Bobby when he comes in the game in that situation?
A: No, kind of just, "Get lined up, let's play some football."
Q: Do you remember when the Jets covered up the four Super Bowl trophies?
A: I didn't remember it at the time, I didn't really hear about it. I didn't really pay much attention to it.
Q: A lot of your teammates were pretty upset about that.
A: Well we had a lot of guys with a lot of anger, built-up anger.
Q: Would you like to see Revis play Sunday, guys usually like to go against the best?
A: We'll see whether he plays or not, but you always want to see guys back healthy and if they have an ability to play, play. But if he's not out there, we'll adjust and I won't complain about it.
Q: Do you pick up on at all on the conversation that starts this time of year about the coach and whether he needs to make the playoffs to come back?
A: No. We know we've got a job to do and we've got to play good football and we've got to win some games, we need to make the playoffs. We know that's the goal, that's what's at stake, so we've just got to go out there and can't think too much into other things or what might happen. We've just got to think about this upcoming game and going out there and playing our best.
Q: How disappointing is it to be in this position? The Cowboys were considered the best team in the division going into the season, they've been without Romo for almost the entire year. The Eagles are a mess. The Redskins, nobody really considered them to be a contender. Here you sit at 5-6, do you feel like you haven't taken advantage of a year that you could have asserted yourself?
A: Well, we've played a lot of close games, a lot of tight ones. We just haven't been able to win enough of these close ones. We've still got a great opportunity and that's the good thing. If we won even a few more of those other ones early, it would still come down to taking care of business coming down the stretch and these last games will be important. Nothing changes in that aspect.
Q: You have a pretty good ability of really just forgetting about bad stuff that happens leading up to that. Is there something conscious in that or just what you do?
A: Just what you do. You kind of look forward to your next opportunity and that is this game and be excited about this and going out there and having a game plan. If something happens the week before, it doesn't mean it's going to happen again.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul**
Q: Is this game a rivalry?
Q: Does the rivalry between the two teams take a back seat because so much is at stake now?
A: Honestly, it doesn't matter. At this point, we're just trying to win the game, and go on to the next game and win that one as well. It's just one game, we have to win it, and that's how we're playing it.
Q: Because of the slow start last week, how important is it to get off to a quick start this week to make sure the fans are behind you right away?
A: The players, we know what we have to do. It was a tough loss, we could have played better, but we didn't. We're in here working hard and trying to get right for the fans, and for our families, and definitely for our teammates. We know what we have to do and we're going to do it.
Q: The last time you played these guys?
A: I don't even know man.
Q: 2011, you guys never lost again. Remember, you had the 99-yard [Victor] Cruz touchdown? You see any parallels? You played them a little later that year.
A: I don't even remember, to tell you the truth.
Q: Coach [Coughlin] said he wants you guys showing extra effort in December, what did he tell you exactly?
A: The motto is: you only remember what you do in December. So that's true. Every game counts. How I feel is we should win every game, we have the talent to do it, and we just have to put it together. We can't come out and start how we started last week or whatever. We're out here working hard as a team and we're going to get it right.
Q: Do you see the effort, more guys all in?
A: Of course, all the guys came out there and did what they had to do. We picked up the speed. You know you practice how you play, and Coach Coughlin has always preached that to us. We're practicing fast right now and we're getting at each other's heads. The players know what we have to do to win this game.
Q: The Jets have given up only 14 sacks this year, which is tied for fewest in the league.
A: Look, I'm still trying to get a sack myself. I'm not even worried about that, how I feel I'm going to go out there and give my best game. That's how I'm going to play the game, giving my best game, and I know about the d-linemen behind me, so I'm going to play at a high level and they're going to play at a high level.
Q: I guess what I'm saying is, are they part of that trend of just getting the ball getting out quick? Is that the primary way to avoid sacks or is their offensive line that talented and that strong?
A: It all starts with the quarterback. Anytime you have a good quarterback, he knows what to do with the ball and he's a good quarterback, so we'll see. Sunday is far (away), so we have time.