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The Coughlin Corner: Primetime matchup tonight


Q: This week, you're in the same scenario we saw last year – a three-game winning streak, a 3-2 record, and a night game in Philadelphia. Can the team learn from last year?

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Coughlin: "Oh, sure, there's lots of things you can learn. Each team is a different team, each situation is different. I don't care, the records may be the same going in, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the same situation. You can learn a lot; you have to learn, you better learn. There's a lot to be learned. We've been pounding away on that for the entire week."

Q: You talked repeatedly in the season's first month about finishing strong. Last week, you had a great finish in the victory over San Francisco. Did you get over a hump by doing that?

Coughlin: "Well, we finished the last couple of games, not exactly the way you'd want to in each of them. The significance of the one the other day was, obviously, the drama: no more timeouts, you're there, you have to score a touchdown, you really can't afford to throw the ball in the field of play because you're going to get tackled and you're going to have a hell of a time. You may get one more snap, but you're really going to have to move to do it. The idea is to continue this pounding away to finish and to recognize the strengths of the team that we're playing.

The issue this week, and I find myself always, always talking about their offensive team, but guess what? They have a good defensive team and they've got 13 takeaways, they have eight forced fumbles. They do a heck of a job. Their front is outstanding, you can see the improvement all along the line. Their outside backers, it seems like we face these kinds of guys every week, 270 pounds, guys that are athletic enough to drop into coverage. (Brandon) Graham and (Connor) Barwin, to drop and to be in coverage, you have to rush. In Barwin's case, the number of batted balls. (Fletcher) Cox, the number of batted balls. So it seems like, 'Wow, where do these guys come from?' It's like the guy last week, (Tank) Carradine, holy smokes, give me a break."

Q: The availability of several injured players was uncertain when you put together the game plan for Philadelphia. How much more difficult is it to construct a plan when you're not sure who you're going to have?

Coughlin: "You can just imagine. Imagine what the defensive staff goes through looking at, 'Okay, how many linebackers do we have,' just for example. Who is going to play? It's hard, believe me. This is why you say it, somewhere along in preseason I say the same thing every year, 'Dear Lord, give us the team that we leave camp with. Let us play with these guys, let's see what we can do.' Now, nobody does, obviously. Everybody gets in the same position, but that's why you take your hat off to people. You make the determination, 'Hey, we're going to take whoever we have available and we're going to do the best job we possibly can with those guys, and we're going to give them every chance to win.' And that's what you have to do, because otherwise, you can't constantly go up and down, up and down, up and down. It's a hard way to do it."

Q: Your offense is ninth in the league in total yards, seventh in passing yards, seventh in points scored, and Eli Manning leads the league is passing attempts. Are you willing to sacrifice the balance you crave for the kind of production you're getting? Or do you want to see more balance?

Coughlin: "I definitely want more balance. I want more balance and I want more production.

But again, within that, you've got to recognize your personnel. It's a game of what-do-you-have and what-don't-you-have? Nobody in this league has everything. I get upset sometimes with watching the tape, because there is more to this game than pass protecting. You have to be able to push them back sometimes. It would help us."

Q: So you want to get that running game going?

Coughlin: "I want the run, I want to have the run. I just believe, I've always believed, you're not going to have the success in the green zone that you think you're going to have and you're capable of having unless you run the ball. You have to be able to have the mix."

Q: Eli has played all season, but the last two weeks he had interceptions that cost you points. I don't know if "live with" is the right term regarding those interceptions, but do you like the aggressiveness, the taking chances or do you want to him to cut back a little bit?

Coughlin: "No, no. Look, I trust the guy completely. We're going to play an aggressive situation. Offensive team, you have 11 seconds on the clock, you're going for the end zone, then you kick a field goal. It's just like the one the week before, 'Hey you have seven, eight seconds to go, the ball is down inside the 10-yard line. You have one play. There's a way to conservatively play that, but if we call something that we think is good, and particularly in that situation, we had scored on a slant to Rueben (Randle). But if for any reason you don't like it, it's points, points, points. I don't see us changing the nature of the way in which - I direct the traffic. And hey, I would like a touchdown. If I don't get the touchdown, I'll take the field goal. Like the one at the half last week. There was no question we were going for the touchdown. If you don't like it, you throw it away."

Q: Jayron Hosley was inactive for the last five games last year. He wasn't injured, it was a coach's decision. A lot of people kind of wondered if he was going to make the team this year. Now with Prince sidelined, he's starting again. Did you say specifically to him in the offseason, "This is a big year for you, we need you to come through?"

Coughlin: "We had plenty of talks along those lines. But it was mainly getting this kid back and getting him on the field and getting him on the field with consistency and in good health to be able to, quite frankly, see what he could do to contribute. He played well the game that he started (vs. Washington) and then he played well the next week on special teams. So his continued improvement is critical to moving forward."

Q: Jay Bromley started at defensive tackle for the first time the other day. How did he do?

Coughlin: "He's a fighter. He gets in there and he battles and you love that in a kid. So he's definitely improved. Naturally, has a ways to go, but he'll get in there and he'll battle you."

Q: You see so many teams with kicker issues this season. Does Josh Brown give you a sense of security because of what he's done over the last three years?

Coughlin: "As long as he continues to line up. I've had my worries, but yeah, when you look at what he's accomplished and what he's been able to do with field goals. You notice that we do have one extra point missed, which I was shocked at that, but everybody seems to have the same kind of deal."

Q: The Eagles still play an up-tempo, no-huddle offense. Do you practice differently this week to get used to that tempo of them getting over the ball and going, getting over the ball and going?

Coughlin: "You have to, you have to. You have to simulate as best you can. Sometimes you wonder if even in simulation - I felt at times we've been able to go very fast because we're on the practice field. Get the ball down, let's go. I think we can sometimes beat even what happens in the game. But all of a sudden when you get in that game, that game to me was very different over there last year versus at home. Over there, they're really fast. I don't know what makes that condition so, but they are. So we're trying to prepare as best we can for it."

Q: You had mentioned their defense, but not their secondary. They've really revamped their secondary and the back of their defense is playing well, isn't it?

Coughlin: "The two safeties (Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond) are playing outstanding.

Walter Thurmond has three interceptions. He looks very good back there, he's skilled. And, of course Jenkins, they've always got one of those guys. You're talking about a hammer, there he is. Had one a few years ago (Brian Dawkins), this one falls right in line with that one. He's the number one playmaker."

Q: Darren Sproles scored on an 89-yard punt return this season. Where do you rank him among the dangerous return men in this league?

Coughlin: "At the top. The guy is amazing. He's still one of the, if not the most, electrifying members of their offensive team. Great in the screen game, very difficult to tackle. The one he returned 89 yards, he was pinned to the sideline. He's some player."

Playmakers on Eagles first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike

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