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Quotes: Tom Coughlin (9/16)



Tom Coughlin**

Tom Coughlin: Good morning. We're excited to prepare for our home opener against the Atlanta Falcons, who defeated Philadelphia the other night, as you well know. A very close game, 26-24 was the final. Atlanta was down, kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia came down with three minutes to go and missed one. That was the deciding factor in the game. New coach is Dan Quinn, was the defense coordinator in Seattle. They play an aggressive style of defense, they're a pressure defense. They rotate the defensive linemen in and out of the game, they keep them fresh. They get after the quarterback and after the running game. They played very aggressively (Monday) night. Their offense was in the top ten last year in the National Football League. Matt Ryan is the outstanding young quarterback. They have many skill players on their offensive side of the ball. Their kicking game is outstanding, as you well know. Matt Bryant is the field goal kicker, he was 3-3 over 40 yards the other night. Bosher is their punter and kicker. He broke his own record, had 57.8 average for punts the other night. Did an outstanding job in that game. And Devin Hester, who was inactive last weekend, has been a top-return man in all of football with 20 touchdowns. So they're an outstanding team and we're looking forward to preparing for the Atlanta Falcons.

Q: Do you have Victor Cruz or Jon Beason in practice today?
A: No.

Q: Ereck Flowers?
A: Yes.

Q: So everything checked out with him. Just a sprain, is that correct?
A: Like I said, yes, he'll be at practice.

Q: Is there any further update on Victor Cruz?
A: No.

Q: Still just a strain or is there anything else?
A: Strain.

Q: Will 'Unga be at practice?
A: Well, I don't know about that. I've got to find out what his status will be. He'll be limited, if he's there.

Q: What's your challenge as the head coach coming off a controversial end to the last game?
A: The challenge is simply to recognize the encouraging things that happened in the game. I thought we played hard, we were aggressive. We've got to continue, obviously, to do that. But we've also got to get our X's and O's better. Our offensive execution and the fact that the offensive team, their responsibility is not only to protect the ball but score touchdowns. So that's basically where we are.

Q: Do you do anything differently after a loss like that to try and keep morale up or prepare for the next week?
A: Well, we talk to our team in specific ways when we gather on Monday. And then we are encouraging where need be, and we talk about nothing but improvement in other areas. But again, let's get back on the practice field and get going.

Q: You spoke a little bit about taking longer shots in the preseason. I'm guessing you'd like to see more?
A: I would like to see the ball down the field. I don't want the ball turned over, but I would like to see the ball down the field, yes.

Q: What effect does it have on an offense or coaching staff to not get the ball until the 11th minute of a game?
A: Well, they won the toss and took the ball, and they put on a long drive. I think, certainly, you want to get in the game much faster than that, but you deal with what you deal with. I think we were all glad to see there was only three points. So out goes the offensive team knowing what their job is. It was a long, sustained drive, and there's reasons why you take the ball and why you don't take the ball and that type of thing. They obviously were correct in what they decided to do the other day.

Q: When you say you want the ball down the field more, how much is that a product of what they were doing defensively?
A: There's no question about what you're seeing defensively out of people today in terms of the number of people involved in underneath coverage, and the single-high coverage primarily. I just don't throw that out there. Obviously, there has to be some excellent decision-making on when to do things. But just by general nature, for me, it's always been, at some point, let's get it down the field.

Q: Eli has taken a lot of criticism over what happened, more than maybe at any time of his career. Are you surprised by it and do you have to talk to him?
A: We've had the conversations, and we're on to Atlanta.

Q: Getting back to Atlanta, how similar is this defense to what Dan Quinn ran in Seattle?
A: Very. Surprisingly.

Q: Preston Parker seemed to have a difficult game. Are you going to make any changes to that part of the depth chart?
A: Well, we certainly want to see the ball caught and not dropped. We'll see how practice goes this week. Dwayne Harris will get more opportunities, but we'll see.

Q: What are you looking for from your crowd in this home opener?
A: Enthusiasm, excitement. Our regular season home opener—1 o'clock game, National Football League—come out, support our team. And (have) our team give them reasons to be excited and involved in the game.

Q: Do you expect Owa Odighizuwa to have a better chance of being up this week?
A: He's going to practice.

Q: How much was him being inactive due to injury? How much of that is the way Dallas plays?
A: As I think I've said, he did not practice last week to any extent. Therefore, that decision was not a difficult one.

Q: Do you expect Flowers to be limited today?
A: I think he's limited, sure.

Q: But you feel good about his situation?
A: I didn't say that. I didn't say that. I said he's going to practice or try to practice.

Q: Rashad Jennings gave a very public apology for revealing what was said in the huddle. Did he need to that to you and was that something you were upset about?
A: I'm going forward to Atlanta, thank you very much. I've talked to everyone, but it was two days ago or whatever.

Q: Is that your basic message to the team? Get over this?
A: Let's go.

Q: How different is the offense now in Atlanta with their new coordinator?
A: Well, Kyle Shanahan is the coordinator. They're up-tempo, west coast. They do some no-huddle, it's not always to create the fast circumstance. They will interject it when they want to. They're pretty quick out of the huddle when they huddle. But they are an outstanding play-action team, outstanding.

Q: Obviously Julio Jones is a great player. Is the challenge similar to Dez Bryant?
A: They have a lot of good skill players, they really do. Guys can help themselves out very well. Julio is certainly an outstanding player.

Q: When you mention the encouraging part of Sunday night, was the play of DRC and Prince Amukamara a part of that?
A: That was a part of it, sure. I think it was very encouraging to me.

Q: Is that what you want to see from them? What you need to see from them on the outside?
A: We need to see the consistency of that quality. I just feel like they're outstanding corners and they can continue to lead the way and help us in that area.

QB Eli Manning

Q: How important is it to get everything erased from Sunday night?
A: I think you play in this league long enough to know that's what you have to do. There are going to be good games, bad games, but it's all about moving on to the next one. You have to learn from every game and you have to get ready. I felt like we had a good practice today, we have a good game plan, going against a team that's good; they played well on Monday night and got a big win. They'll be coming in fired up and we have to play better and find a way to win.

Q: Fans probably take the loss harder than the players do; that being the case, how important is it to get off to a fast start against the Falcons?
A: You always want to get off to a fast start and hopefully we can do that, but we have to play the game. We have to play four quarters and do whatever it takes to get a win.

Q: What's the key to winning this week?
A: I think usually what the key to winning is every week, protect the football, convert on third downs, score when you get in the red zone, play smart football, physical, and make some plays.

Q: Do you accept Rashad's [Jennings] apology?
A: Yeah, Rashad didn't do anything wrong and we chatted and talked. We're great, we've moved on from it, and now we're going to play football.

Q: Because this team has had six-game losing streaks the past two seasons, does a loss like what happened Sunday night linger?
A: No, I don't think the previous seasons affect this season. Each year is a new year, you've got new players, you've got new guys, and so you take each game for what it is in each season, and go out there and play the next game.

Q: What was positive that came out of the game for you?
A: I thought we made some good plays. I thought we were close on some other plays. We just have to make those tight plays. There's going to be some throws and some plays that aren't going to be wide open, and not going to be easy. I have to make better throws and guys have to make catches. We were close on a number of plays of breaking some big ones. We had some mistakes that we can definitely fix and so I thought we moved the ball, had some nice drives, but we have to learn how to finish them.

Q: Is this game even more important because of how the first game ended?
A: I think you go on and you play the next game. We have a good week of preparation, I thought today's energy, enthusiasm, and preparation was good, so you start there. Each week, get a good game plan and you go out there. It should be a great environment, get to play a home game, first home game of the season is always fun, great crowd and hopefully we give them what they want.

Odell Beckham Jr**

Q: How do you guys bounce back here and how important is it this weekend to get something going?
A: We just come out and we play like we did last week. And just have fun. Most importantly, finish. There was a lot of good to take from the game. I think our offensive line, our defensive line played their butts off. I think we all played as hard we could, it just comes down to finishing. It's something that you have to do. You have to finish our games, you have to finish blocks, you have to finish runs, you have to finish catches. Finish is one of the things we need to do. But it's not the end of the season, it's one game. Of course, you would want to win, but it didn't happen. Today's Wednesday and we play Sunday against Atlanta, so that's the focus.

Q: What kind of respect do you have for your quarterback for accepting a lot of the blame from last weekend?
A: He can't accept all the blame. There were plays in the game that could have been made, it should have never came down to that position. We should have never put ourselves in that position. But him being a leader, and being able to step up and take the blame for it is tremendous character on his part, even though you can't let him sit there and take all the blame. There are plays I felt like I could have made or I could have done something more to impact the game. So, I feel as if it is my fault as well, along with everybody else. You win together, you lose together, and that's just the case.

Q: Do you feel that the trust and faith that you and the rest of the team has in Eli after he admitted he told Jennings not to score is there? Is the faith unchanged?
A: It's no difference. Through thick and thin, we're going to be behind Eli. He's going to lead us, and we're all going to follow. You know it's just unfortunate the way the game ended, but it is what it is. There's nothing we can do to change it now. And like I said, nor can you put the blame on one person in an 11-man game.

Q: What's it going to mean for you guys to be back home playing in front of the home crowd?
A: Just looking forward to it. I know the fans are excited about this season. I think this team is going to do tremendous things this year. There's just little things we need to clean up, things that we all need to work on. Looking forward to doing that and executing this week.

Q: Offensively, how can you establish more of a rhythm? Seems like the offense struggled at times last week. Do you think it's just a matter of time before it gets going?
A: Just executing, plain and simple. The ball is on the field-- hand the ball to the running back, he runs, he gets yards. The ball is thrown—you catch the ball, you get yards. It comes down to the fundamentals of football, making plays, and executing. Executing, executing, executing. It's just something that we need to work on. I don't feel as if we played badly or anything like that. I think we played pretty good, we just didn't execute when we needed to.

Q: What did you think of Rashad Jennings also taking some blame here and apologizing to you guys?
A: I actually didn't hear anything about it. But like I said, I wouldn't let any one person take the blame for it. I wouldn't let coach take the blame for it, Eli, Rashad—anybody. Like I said, it's an 11-man game. We win together, we lose together. But there are a lot of positives to take from the game. One of them was just the physical play from our offensive line, and them blocking run pays, pass plays, whatever it was. They're in the huddle and they were the energy for the night. So we just need to all bring our energy levels up to the same level.

Q: How about Atlanta? What do you see when you see them on tape after their first game?
A: It's going to be a good game. I think in the NFL, you can never take any team lightly, regardless of who you're playing. You're going to come out and play to the best that you can. So, with that being said, we're sitting here game planning and watching film, and taking what we can take. Definitely looking forward to Sunday against the Falcons.

Q: So much of football is an emotional game. Home opener, crowd being jacked up, you guys will be jacked up. How much do you need to feed off of that at the beginning of the game?
A: It really comes down to what the team is going to do. The fans can cheer as loud as they want, if the team is out there and we're not executing, it doesn't matter how loud they're cheering. Of course, it's great to have them there and have them in full support. It's great to be able to see everybody there, it looks like the stands are full and everybody is into the game. Just give them something to feed off of.

Q: We saw you take a shot in this last game, are you feeling alright?
A: How do I look?

Q: Sound alright. How much of a concern are concussions to you at all?
A: Not really much of a concern to me. I don't have one. That's why they have the rule in place, for you to get checked or examined or whatever the case may be. But not really worried about it.

Q: First game of season two, did you notice Dallas doing anything different to you?
A: Yeah. There was just a lot of—it seemed like they were trying to keep everything in front of them, and not let too much get behind them, and just play up on everything. Like I said, there's stuff that we need to do. We need to just execute better. Plain and simple, we just need to execute better.

Q: Can you go up against that or do you just have to take what they give up?
A: You take what they give you and then things will open up. It's kind of like you run the ball, you run the ball, and then the pass opens up. You pass the ball, the run will open up. It counteracts each other.

Q: Does it just require more patience, wait for the opportunity to get what you want? How difficult does that make it?
A: Just staying patient and just knowing that opportunities are going to come, and you've got to seize the moment. And it's something that I've had to deal with in the past in my college career. Things aren't all going to be there right away, but you've just got to wait for those moments of when your plays are going to be there and when your opportunities are going to be there. You have to do whatever you can to help the team.

Q: When you see Eli getting roasted in a lot of quarters of the media, from fans, how do you react as a team?
A: You sit there, and like I said, he can't sit there and try and take all the blame, nor would I or anybody else let him take all the blame. It was an unfortunate ending. I'm sure nobody but the Cowboys wanted it to end that way. It is what it is now. We're 0-1 and onto next game.

Q: Do you feel protective of him? Do you say, "This is ridiculous, the guy has won two Super Bowls."
A: No, you just know that's the territory that's going to come with it. He's the quarterback, he's the top guy, he's the head guy. He's going to take the blame for everything. Win or loss—he gets the credit for the win, he gets the credit for the loss. It's just something we're all kind of there and we support him. Like I said, I don't think it's his fault. It comes down to us finishing.

Q: When you make that sliding catch inside the five-yard line, did you think, "We got this now."
A: After the first down or they had the penalty or whatever the case may be and we're right there on the goal line, you just have a good feeling. You're confident, you're like "OK, let's go ahead and finish this one out and get back on this plane." It wasn't in God's plans tonight, so you roll with the punches and you keep fighting.

Q: You had to wait to get on the plane too.
A: That was a long wait to get on that plane. But it's all good, man, it's all part of the process. And just enjoy it. I wouldn't trade where I'm at for anywhere in the world. Just being able to be here is such a blessing. And being able to play football—win, lose or draw—you're out there and you're playing in the NFL. It's what I love to do. Unfortunately, we lost, but it's not the end of the season.

Q: There's been so much talk about that sequence at the end of the game there for the last couple of days. How much does this team want to move forward and leave that in the past and start thinking only about Atlanta?
A: I think it's already started. We started game planning for Atlanta. Like I said, the record says 0-1 for the Giants. There's nothing you can do to take it back. So you're sitting there and reminiscing about it—anybody sitting and reminiscing about it, it's not going to do anything for you. So you kind of just let it go out the window and you move on.

Q: Did you feel like you guys washed this thing out after practice today? It's onto Atlanta, like Coach said?
A: It's 48-hour rule, 24-hour rule, whatever it is. Five-minute rule or whatever the case may be. Of course, it's going to hurt. It's Dallas, it's the first game. Not the way we wanted to start the season, but by no means the end of it.

Q: Did you see a lot of similarities to Atlanta's scheme compared to what Seattle did last year? Obviously Seattle's old coordinator is now the Atlanta head coach.
A: Yeah, so we've watched a lot of the films he had in Seattle, and now what they're doing in Atlanta. Kind of trying to get an idea of what they're going to do. The two teams definitely do play similar.

Q: He told us he thought you would make a good safety, he meant that as a compliment.
A: Who said that?

Q: Dan Quinn. What do you think of that?
A: I don't know. I play receiver right now, so that's all I really focus on. Safety is a fun position, I think, for a lot of guys. You're back there, especially if you play free, you're back there and you just get to roam and do whatever. It's almost like playing center field. That's not my position, nor do I think I could just jump on the field and play safety. I guess I'll take it as a compliment.

Q: He'd probably like you to this Sunday.
A: He probably would. But like I said, we're trying to game plan for Atlanta and just get ready. Get back to even, and then keep going from there.

Q: Can you remember a game where your offense didn't get the ball until 11 minutes were gone on the clock in the first quarter?
A: Yeah, on that first drive they did chew up a lot of clock, and I kind of noticed that. You're just sitting there, like, "When can we finally get in?" It's just hard to establish a rhythm when a team does a good job at controlling the ball so well. Dallas did a tremendous job at controlling the ball. They did a tremendous job at driving down the field when they needed to, scoring, and even on the last drive. As much as it sucks to lose, you have to give them some credit. We didn't do what we needed to do, and they did what they needed to do to get the win. So at the end of the day, that's what it is—wins and losses. We didn't come up with the win.

Q: How would you assess the morale here right now?
A: It looks great to me. Like I said, we're moving forward. You can't change it, you can't go back in the past, so there's really no point in focusing on it.

Q: Did you feel like you guys were missing a big play? You didn't have any passes over 20 yards until the laterals there at the end. Did you feel like you were missing that big boost?
A: Just something to get the team going. Whether it was a big run or it was a big pass or whatever it is, we just need to do more to fire this team up and play better and finish games.


Brandon Meriweather**

Q: Brandon, how important is it for you guys to turn this around quickly and win this weekend at home?
A: It's important to get a win. Turn it around. I don't know if I would use those words, but I think it's important for us to get a win just like every week is.

Q: What about the challenge to play Julio Jones, who is just about one of the best receivers in the League?
A: Every week we play the best receiver in the league, right? I think last week y'all said Dez was the best receiver in the league, now it's Julio and next week it's going to be DeSean. So every week is a good challenge and we look forward to it.

Q: I think the difference from last week is Roddy White is on the other side, too, and his resume is pretty impressive as well. So to have the one-two punch, how different is that?
A: You're right, you're right. Their one-two punch is outstanding and now they've added (Leonard) Hankerson to the mix, which makes them even more, with a great quarterback. So we've got a task ahead of us that we're looking forward to.

Q: From the times you've played Matt Ryan, is he the type of guy who is always looking first to go deep, is he hesitant to do that or is he looking for the big play or not?
A: I don't think it's Matt, I think it's more of the offensive coordinator. Depending on the play call depends on what he'll do.

Q: You were in Washington with Kyle Shanahan?
A: Yes I was.

Q: So you know a little bit about his tendencies?
A: Just a little bit. Just a little bit.

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