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Quotes: Tom Coughlin, Justin Pugh (10/5)

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Tom Coughlin

Coughlin: Good afternoon everyone. We were certainly pleased to look at this tape because I thought our demeanor, the effort, the enthusiasm with which we played, the excitement—I thought the stadium there in Buffalo was electric. I liked the way that we responded to it. We worked well, particularly late in the week. Because of the nature of the Buffalo team, a very good team, their sophisticated defensive scheme, outstanding special teamers, outstanding returners with a very good offensive team that had scored 32 points on New England, that was the number one rush team in the league etc... We had a lot of very sophisticated adjustments within the nature of the game plan on offense and I liked the way the approach was. I liked the way they focused, I liked the way the players prepared themselves. I think defensively we definitely set the tone with a number of three and outs in the first half. Offensively, the first half was pretty much the way we would want it to go, as well. I thought the interesting thought there was the objective on special teams was to do an outstanding job at coverage, punt coverage and kickoff coverage. And we did. And on defense, to first of all stop the run and, of course, all that falls in line there. Try to win the physical battle and the turnover battle. So our defensive team held Buffalo to a very low percentage on third down. We did not do much better on the offensive side. But as I said, we were plus-one and we won just by a little bit the time of possession. So we were pleased to be able to go on the road and to play against a very good team and to come away with a win.

Q: How impressed were you with the offensive line given the early injury to Ereck Flowers and how formidable the Bills pass rush is? Can you talk a little about their performance on Sunday?
A: Well, I will. I will say this—they did perform well. They've done a nice job with that. We pass protected well, we did end up with one sack. Quite frankly, that should have been picked up as well. We did have some occasions to run the ball. We rushed for 92 yards, they rushed for 55 yards. So we had more yards there. Again, we prepared well, there was an awful lot that went into it from a cerebral standpoint in the game. The guys did a good job with it. You would like to have the third quarter, maybe come back and do a better job there. Obviously the penalty on the screen really knocked us out of some opportunities there because the ball was down way deep into their territory. But we did do a good job, and we did protect the passer. The ball did come out quickly and that was the nature of the game.

Q: How has Marshall Newhouse done in particular in your estimation?
A: He's done a good job, he's done a good job. He's come in and he's worked hard and he's been very good up front in terms of communication. He's a smart guy. So he's worked himself in very well.

Q: A lot of your players last night and a couple guys today talked about, it seemed like after the 0-2 start your energy level rose a little bit higher. Is that a conscious thing that you did, stay upbeat and stay the course?
A: Yeah, the obvious. Whether the energy level came up from whatever level it currently is, I don't know about that. But I do know that it puts a fire in our belly without a doubt to be 0-2 and I didn't think we were an 0-2 team. We needed to do something about it. So we tried to inspire our guys to believe in themselves and come together as a team, to play the four quarters. Forget about the score and play each play as hard as you possibly can and don't let any of the circumstances get into your head. And the coaches all did a great job of, again, continuing to express the feelings that I had and keeping the energy level very high and coaching the heck out of them and being excited about it. Trying to surround ourselves with guys that are excited to compete and believe that we can win. All of those things went into it, without a doubt.

Q: Tom, you used this word to your team last night after the game and the word keeps coming out. "Relevant." Why that choice of word?
A: Well, it's always good to be, at this point in time in a season, looking at our start and to know that you're in the mix, you're in the hunt. I chose that word to make them understand it's a word that puts you in position, but you're not there. You've got a long way to go and that's the significance of that term.

Q: You put Fells on I.R. Do you have a corresponding roster move? When did that happen?
A: Well, we'll see about that, the move. It was very unfortunate with Daniel. It went from early in the week being a junkie ankle to a serious situation. I just talked to him a little while ago, he feels upbeat about it. He's just looking forward to getting things under control so he can get out of the hospital. With that being the case, we would have a roster move, but we'll make sure we take our time, do our due diligence on that.

Q: Eli threw his first interception on Sunday. What did you see from that play? Was it more a product of maybe trying to force the pass or could Rueben Randle maybe have fought a little bit harder for the ball?
A: Well, you can look at it any way you want to. The error goes to me, because I wanted to score. I wanted to be in a position at that point to score a touchdown. And then on fourth down, if we didn't score, we would kick the field goal. But there's different ways to play that. I asked Rueben about it, he said when the contact came from the corner, he was kind of knocked back a little bit and wasn't able to completely finish. And I'm sure if you really bore down on him, he could have maybe run the route just a little bit better. I think Eli had thrown a similar type of pass to him for a touchdown earlier in the game. The ball had been thrown low and in a spot where Rueben was going to get it and nobody else was going to get it. I'm sure Eli would probably say something to that effect as well. Give some credit to the corner. The corner played that pretty well.

Q: Getting a chance to look back on it, do you regret throwing the ball there in that spot?
A: No, I don't regret the call, I regret the result. I do understand completely the consequences of the decision that you could make or couldn't make there. However, as I explained, I was looking for an opportunity on third down to score a touchdown. If we didn't, we would kick the field goal on fourth down. That was the entire concept.

Q: Right now, you two rookie tight ends and Larry Donnell, who doesn't have a tremendous amount of experience himself. Is this somewhere you feel you need a veteran in that spot in some way, shape or form?
A: Well, it would be nice, but that type of a player may or may not be available. We'll have to see where that exactly stands. Larry has played a significant number of snaps here in the early part of the season and he seems to have grown into that role. We'd like to be supportive in other ways. If we can do with what we have here, fine. If there is something that we can look into that will improve us in other areas, then so be that, too.

Q: I know he dropped the pass, but what did you see from Will Tye?
A: Well, I thought it wasn't too big for him. I thought that he did a decent job of blocking. There was a couple of decent, good plays and probably one poor play. He did have the drop on a second and one, which would have converted to a first down, no doubt. But for the first time out of the box, he went out there and handled it well in terms of emotion and that type of thing.

Q: Owa Odighizuwa played 40-something defensive snaps in his first NFL game. How do you think he did?
A: You know what, he obviously hasn't played in quite some time and that was a factor there. But he got in there, he mixed it up. He made a really nice play on the quarterback where he kept the ball on the option. He got himself in position a couple of times where he could have been able to apply some pressure perhaps with a little bit better movement to the quarterback and the passing game. He got in there, he got his feet wet.

Q: Do you have an update on any of these injured guys—Devon Kennard or Jayron Hosley and maybe how Ereck Flowers came out?
A: Well, Flowers seemed to come out okay. This morning, he looked very good when he was here in the building. The trainers and the doctors felt that he was actually a little bit better about the position that he's in right now than he was a week ago. So that was good. The other guys, I do not have anything on.

Q: How about Victor Cruz? Victor said that Monday was going to be a big day for him to come in and see how that injection went?
A: I don't think we have anything to update on Victor.

Q: Is there anything with Jason Pierre-Paul? Is he scheduled to come in any time soon?
A: I have no knowledge of any such information.

LB Jon Beason

Q: It seems like the way this defense is set up, every guy on this defense can be that guy, that playmaker. When you take a look at that, would you say that's accurate and also does it make it more challenging to scheme against the defense?
A: The imprint of a great defense is the guys playing fast, physical, being relentless and swarming. We don't really care about stats, long as we're doing it together, I think that's what makes us special, and you watch the film and it's an example of football. You don't know which guy it's going to be, but everyone is playing hard, getting to the ball, and good things are happening.

Q: When you watch the film, how much better is it now?
A: It's great. It's fun to watch guys that get after it. There was a big emphasis on finishing and we did that. We got put into some tough situations, they made some plays late, and we were able to come up with some huge stops in the red zone, a 10-point swing. To me, that was key in the game.

Q: You often times described this defense as very complex and during the summer you had guys coming in and out of the lineup because of injury and circumstances . What do you think has been the key to everybody clicking at this stage of the game?
A: Well, I think guys are embracing their roles. We have multiple packages where we are getting guys on the field who do things well and we're creating a niche for those guys. You go out and play four or five different personnel groups and all the linebackers are involved, and all the secondary guys are involved, you don't see that happen much. We thought we have a unique skillset; coaches are doing a great job recognizing what guys do well, and putting them in position to make plays.

Q: What would you say about your defensive coordinator's personality, number one, and also his willingness to let players, not freelance, but make some decisions on their own on the field? How has that affected the defense?
A: First off, I think he's aggressive, I think he enjoys scheming, studying guys, getting tendencies, and he's very prepared for everything. We go over the situations that may come up once or twice in a career, let alone in a game, but they happen. With that, you can appreciate a guy like that, so we try and go out there and execute at a high level, and know that he put us in a position to make plays. That's all you can ask as a defensive coordinator. Sometimes when they have a play or get a scheme, he's the first one to say, "Hey, listen, that was on me, that was on the call." It's the same thing if we mess up and it's on us, so I think we're developing that cohesiveness. Guys are being accountable for where they're supposed to be. More than not thus far, we've been where we're supposed to be, and we're making plays.

Q: What about you? I know you stayed in the meetings while you were dealing with the knee injury but being in the meetings and doing it on the field are two different things. Have you spent more time with Spags [Steve Spagnuolo] trying to pick his brain and get on the same wave length as him? What do you think has been the biggest difference for you?
A: I think we're just developing an overall relationship, as friends, and as co-workers. He's a great dude. For me, you get out there and you're thinking a lot when you miss time. It doesn't become second nature, and yeah it's one thing that I want to do better, I'm where I'm supposed to be, I can be a half a step faster in my decision-making process, or even getting guys lined up, making checks, and changing our fronts. For the most part I feel good about it but there is a little bit of a learning curve, so to speak, based off missing time and in a live situation.

Q: How much has it been in-game adjustments? How much have you guys gone to that and how much has been sticking to the game plan?
A: Last week, a little bit more; this week, not so much. I think we executed well, we played fast and physical to the football, and the scheme was sound in what our objective was going into the game and we took care of that, for the most part. I love when a coordinator comes up and pulls the defense together on the bench and says, "Hey, we're going to come up with this call. This is what we're going to do, you're going to go here, you're going to go there, and let's go and do it on the next series." They give us this, we're checking to this and when guys go out and use their same rules within the defense and make it a…It's great because you're taking away what their game plan was. We call it flavor of the day, meaning you can watch film if you want, but you're going to have a run that's going to be different, you're going to have a passing concept that's different, and we're going to have to be able to take care of it and we did that.

Q: How calming is it when Tom Coughlin stays the course when things are going bad? What reflection does that have on the team?
A: I think the thing that I love about Coach Coughlin is that he's consistent. He's going to preach the same thing no matter what. We have a process, we have goals in mind, and he knows how to get us there. When he's consistent, we're reminded of the fact that we can trust in him and the direction that we're going. You start off 0-2, plenty of good, not quite enough to get the W, but a lot to learn from. Knowing that "Hey, look at all of the great things we did do. Let's build on that and don't forget about those things. The small things that are costing us games, let's focus on those things and be more complete, and hopefully we can win more football games."

Q: How much of a part did he [Coughlin] play do you feel in kind of getting you guys back on track the last couple of weeks?
A: I would say he's come in with more energy, more enthusiasm, and a guy who's 69 years old. He comes in, he's doing jumping jacks in the meetings, it's always a joy to see how much he loves to do what he does, and how much of a competitor he is. It's easy to get up and go out and fight for a guy like that.

Q: I don't know how bad his injury is, but if you're without [Devon] Kennard for a couple of weeks, how equipped are you to handle that?
A: It's tough, man. He's playing lights out right now, he's doing more than what's asked of him, he's playing at an extremely dominating level, and any time you lose a guy like that, it's tough. I don't know what the nature of the injury is or how long he's going to be out. The thing about it, like I said earlier, collectively every linebacker has played in every game besides me, and we all have different roles and during the same room meeting, if you give something to Kennard, I'm expected to know it, Uani ['Unga] should know, JB [Jasper Brinkley], JT [Thomas], everyone should know it. Even though we're young with Uani, we're very veteran, so being able to move guys around and cover up if there is a lack. I look for Kennard to do what he always does. He's professional, he takes care of his body extremely well, he prepares like no other, and hopefully he's back as soon as possible.

Q: When you look at the NFC East standings, what do you see and what do you feel about them?
A: It's wide open. It's still too early to say anybody is the favorite, which is a good thing. You start off 0-2, it's tough to stay in the race, especially when you lose a divisional game, but we're just excited to win this game and now all the focus is on the 49ers.

C Weston Richburg

Q: We'll ask you what we asked Jon Beason, when you wake up this morning and see the standings of the NFC East, what do you think about those?
A: I think I said last night that the win made us relevant again. We never took ourselves out of the race. It's just a testament to how hard we work and we just kept going last night. It was cool to see. It was a great win for us and now we've just got to keep confident.

Q: How big a part did Tom Coughlin play when you guys were 0-2 to get you guys back on track? Maybe just sticking to what he does?
A: Yeah, I think he's made a name for himself by being able to motivate people and he definitely did that for us. It's good to have a leader like that and I think it's going to be a big part of the success of the team this year.

Q: When you look at what Ereck Flowers went through yesterday, fighting through that ankle injury, did that kind of uplift you guys a little bit more than usual?
A: I don't know if it uplifted anybody, but it was good to see toughness and him to be able to come back into the game. We were prepared to go with or without him, so I'm just glad he was able to come back and play and play against a good defense like that.

Q: You and Justin have both talked about playing tough. Do you feel that you guys have put to rest any notion about the toughness of the offensive line with something like what Ereck did?
A: I'm sure there will be people that say things about us that we didn't but that's not for us to really worry about, it's up to us to continue to work hard and continue to come together as a unit, try to get better each week.

Q: What does it say about the offensive line that you didn't allow a sack to their defensive line?
A: That was a real positive, I think. We handled their really different looks pretty well and obviously they have good talent. I think we, for the most part, blocked them well. They did have one sack we'd like to have back, but I think we did a good job at pass protection for the most part.

Q: How hard is it to block Nikita Whitlock in practice?
A: I've never done it and I hope I never have to do it. I feel so bad for those guys who have to block that guy. He's a mismatch when he gets in there, especially at the end of games when guys are tired. It's fun to watch him, though. I'm extremely happy for that guy. He does a great job.

Q: A mismatch because you've got to get so low to get after him?
A: He's got leverage, he's got speed, his get-off is great. I've never seen his college tape but I heard in college he was a force to be reckoned with, so you can obviously see him get the sack. I mean, he doesn't play defense and he goes in and gets a sack. I was so happy to see that. Very proud of that guy.

Q: Big offensive linemen sort of underestimate him a little bit?
A: I think there could be definitely, definitely some underestimation when he comes out there, but right when the ball snaps and you see him get off, you figure out real quick that he's not going to be easy to block.

Q: I'm sure you guys were confident, but to have that kind of performance against maybe the best defensive line in football, does that help all of you, individually or collectively, feel a little bit better about yourselves and what you think will develop?
A: I think it's definitely good for our confidence as a unit. We saw things on film we definitely need to fix. I think if we're able to find things each week, which we'll be able to, to get better at, I think we will be better and better each week and continue to really build a reputation for our offensive line.

Q: What area do you see yourself being way better at now?
A: Oh man, I think pass protection from IDing everything to really keeping the interior pocket tight, I think that's going to be a big part in the run game, just getting our run fits better, moving guys off the ball better. It's just going to be something each week we see we need to work on.

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