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The Coughlin Corner


Q: When you coach long enough, you're going to have your share of disappointing losses as you did last week. What's the key to bouncing back from those?
Coughlin: "The key is to have the mental toughness, the discipline, the strength of character to put it behind you. Sometimes these things linger and it's a difficult thing, but the sooner you can accept the fact that you cannot do anything about yesterday and you can't let it affect you as to what you're doing in this moment, the sooner you move forward. You try as best you can to put it behind you fast. The media won't let you, but you have to do it anyway."

Q: Do you have to do more gauging of the psyche of the coaches and the players this week because of what happened in the Philadelphia game?
Coughlin: "You do, but you also have to right off the bat, the first time I saw them Monday afternoon, I had to utilize encouraging words. I will always speak the truth in terms of the facts, but it's a matter of trying to be supportive, recognizing the fact that there was a lot of emotion involved in something like that. That could've been a first in terms of coming into a locker room after a game of that nature. There was a lot of healing that has to go on and there is a lot of belief in moving forward and trying to pick their spirits up."

Q: Who picks your spirits up?
Coughlin: "People try. Jerry (Reese) tries. (Vice president of communications) Pat Hanlon. You have to get that going."

Q: You're trying to get everyone else going, but don't you have to get yourself going first?
Coughlin: "The first thing you have to do is be strong enough to realize that it's not about me. It's about the team. I always tell our players and coaches and everyone around me that there is no woe is me in this business. I'm talking about our team as the individual. It's not what this thing is about. This is about trying to recognize and do the right thing by our team, with our team members. Try to encourage the guys, the Matt Dodge's, to come back, bounce back and learn from the experience. Understand it and see the big picture and try to understand more about the game than just the role that you play. You have those kinds of things, but sometimes there aren't a lot of answers."

Q: Do you just keep stressing the fact that you're in the playoffs if you win this week in Green Bay. Is that one way to move forward?
Coughlin: "That's the way to stop it. The way you try to do it is, in reality, the goal is to get in the playoffs and we've always stressed the most direct way in is to win the division. However, let's move on to the next opportunity. That's where it is."

Q: I assume you've coached your share of teams that had players-only meetings, as the Giants did this week at Eli Manning's instigation. Do they make a difference?
Coughlin: "I hope so. I think they do. Eli came to me and asked me if he could have a meeting and I said yes, realizing where he was coming from and the respect that the players have for him. It's a good thing. If the players themselves can understand the path, even without the coaches coming in and directing, I think it's positive. I'm sure that what he really helped them do is to understand about moving forward. Don't dwell."

Q: The players thought they had a very good practice (Wednesday). Did you sense that also?
Coughlin: "I did. I thought they practiced well and they had good energy. I thought that they reacted well and obviously I was looking for that. I was very much zoomed in about that. I just think it was a very good start to the week."

Q: This entire season, you have been extraordinarily patient with Matt Dodge. What do you see in him that makes you think he will be a very good punter down the road?
Coughlin: "The nature of our game today, and we play against them all the time, with these big legs. And they change the whole field. This kid has that kind of leg. Does he have consistency and some of the other ingredients that come with experience and come over time? No, but that's where you are."

Q: Dave Tollefson sustained an MCL sprain last game. How does not having him in the mix affect what you do from a defensive or special teams standpoint?
Coughlin: "He's a big guy that can run and he requires special attention, whether it be involved in kickoff coverage, kickoff return, or punt. He's fast enough to be a factor in everything and yet he's a big guy. You just don't have a lot of those kinds of guys. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and Dave are very effective in sometimes doing nothing more than just drawing double teams. Somebody else gets singled because they get doubled. It does cause issues and it always does."

Q: Without Rhett Bomar now, who was signed by Minnesota, is Sage Rosenfels handling a larger role in practice?
Coughlin: "He likes it. Quarterbacks would rather take them all (of the reps). Plus, you're talking about a veteran guy coming down the stretch that has great knowledge of cadence and that kind of stuff that can really work a defense with the finer art of those kinds of things as far as a hard count and understanding what the other guy is trying to do from a concept standpoint. Having played in that division (NFC North), knowing that team (Green Bay), there are a lot of positives now."

Q: Since 2007 the Giants have the NFL's third-best road record. What about this team has allowed you to succeed on the road consistently?
Coughlin: "The thing we've always stressed is the togetherness, the singleness of purpose, and the idea that all we have is each other. It is about team and going into a hostile environment with only your teammates and coaches to rely on and depend on. It is about the mental toughness aspect of it and to be able to deal with the noise, the crowd, and the environment while still holding your own. Those are the things we've always relied on."

Q: Would you agree that the Packers are more of a pass team than a run team despite playing in cold conditions?
Coughlin: "They've worked hard to develop their run and the other night (in a loss in New England), they ran the ball well. They ran for 143 (yards) the other night. They have skilled people and they have a skilled quarterback, so they certainly take advantage of that."

Q: You've played several 3-4 defenses this year. What distinguishes the Packers' 3-4 from the others?
Coughlin: "I think it's the personnel, and the exact schemes they play and how they go about the use of their personnel with their blitz package. I think that's probably identifiable. Dom (Capers, Green Bay's defensive coordinator) has always been known as a fire-zone guy, and he has taken it each year and tweaked it, made it better. This is what you see right now."

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