One day after the Giants' thrilling, memorable and important victory in Dallas, Tom Coughlin was bunkered in his office today in the Timex Performance Center. But like everyone else in the Northeast and around the country, Coughlin's thoughts were on Hurricane Sandy and its devastating impact throughout the region.
"We want to assure everyone that our thoughts are with them in the Northeast about being safe and making sure everyone's family is safe during this time of uncertainty," Coughlin said on a conference call – that was covered by several Giants beat reporters still stuck in Dallas, plus one in Cincinnati trying to get home in a carpool with a couple of columnists. "None of us really know what to expect, so we're all hanging in there, but our thoughts, good thoughts are for everyone that's in the path of this thing."
After the 29-24 victory over the Cowboys, Coughlin informed his players on the bumpy flight to New Jersey to stay home until Wednesday. The assistant coaches were working, but unlike spending a typically long day grading game tape and beginning preparation for the upcoming home game against Pittsburgh, they were ordered to leave early.
"We've been business per usual since we landed last night, in terms of we got a little bit of rest and we got the film graded and got started on our game plan with the coaches and that sort of thing," Coughlin said. "The players, we felt it was in the best interest in the safety and security of our players that they remain home, that they stay with their families, that they make sure that their wives and children are fine during this time. There's so much uncertainty.
"I did adjust the schedule in that what we're going to do is...we're pretty good at the mid-stream adjustment thing. I was thinking in terms of all of our football-related people that are here in the building today. Supposedly the window of safety is up until four, or late afternoon, early evening. What we've asked our coaches to do is we adjusted the schedule in terms of how we'll put the game plan together, and we'll push things back Wednesday morning and move our training room a little bit deeper into the morning and go ahead and treat this as if it were a Monday night game in terms of our day getting started on Wednesday. We've made adjustments, the coaches can take their laptops and go home to their families and make sure their families are safe and their children, rest assured, Dad is at home. If there is any kind of wind damage or any kind of water damage or any loss of power, the wives would be a little bit more secure. In order to do that, I made the necessary adjustments and hopefully the guys will be able to get back in here tomorrow late morning and we'll push everything to tomorrow night. The winds are predicted to subside early Tuesday afternoon. I think at that point in time, the guys will be able to travel. All of that is just trying to do the smart thing, that's all."
*Coughlin had no updates on any of his injured players. Although they were examined and treated today by the team's medical staff, they were unable to undergo standard tests because so many facilities were closed because of the storm or roads were impassable.
"We did have our normal medical meeting, our training room responsibilities, they all met this morning," Coughlin said. "However, there is no access to anything outside of our building, so we really don't know much about it. There's been no MRI's or anything of that nature."
The players whose condition will be updated later in the week include linebacker Chase Blackburn (who left the game with a hamstring injury), tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle), and safety Antrel Rolle, who experienced dizziness after landing on his head late in the game.
*When Stevie Brown signed with the Giants on April 3, most websites and newspapers devoted little more than a paragraph to the news. Brown had played for Oakland for one season and in Indianapolis for another and in 23 games he had no interceptions, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries.
Today, Brown is one of the Giants' most productive defensive players. He has started the last four games in place of the injured Kenny Phillips. On Sunday, Brown intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble to boost his season totals to five picks (second in the NFL behind Chicago's Tim Jennings) and seven takeaways (first in the league).
Although he didn't have that reputation when he arrived, Brown has been a safety with a nose for the ball.
"I'd like to think I have been (that kind of player)," Brown said on his own conference call today. "My college stats didn't really show it, but even when I was in high school…that's how I started off getting recruited because, as a sophomore, I had 10 interceptions. It's just something I've always been able to do."
To Coughlin, a takeaway is more valuable than a winning lottery ticket, so has enjoyed watching Brown continually come up with the ball.
"The first thing I react to is by telling you that I'm the greatest cheerleader in the world," Coughlin said. "I mean, I look out there, who this guy is and where the ball is. I think it's a great tribute to him. He has played very well and he has been where the ball is. That's something that really has helped us. I mean, you're looking at a team, we're now plus-13 (in turnover ratio) after eight games. I would like to hope that this could continue, because it's creating opportunities for us that are so difficult to get when it's simply on your own.
"He's been the guy who has been able to be on the spot and anticipate. He obviously has a very good knack for being wherever he is, if we're anticipating where the ball is going and arriving there very close. The first interception was outstanding, where he was the centerfielder. He's done a very good job, he's being recognized by all of us, and has been a huge factor in our being able to win a few games in a row."
Brown began the season hoping to make a big impact and now he's thrilled to be doing so.
"It's been everything I've been working for," he said. "Even though I was on other teams, I made different types of impacts, whether it was just special teams-wise, getting a few snaps here and there. But to actually contribute on defense as much as I have, it's definitely been the goal that I've been working for since I've been in the league."
*Coughlin is still displeased that the Cowboys ran three plays in the final 10 seconds yesterday. After Dez Bryant's potential game-winning touchdown was reversed after a review because his hand touched the end line, 10 seconds remained. Dallas was on the Giants' 37-yard line.
A 10-yard pass to Jason Witten took four seconds. On the next snap, Tony Romo scanned the field before throwing to the end zone for Miles Austin. The ball fell incomplete and the Giants thought the game was over. But one second remained on the clock. On the real last play, Romo sailed a pass toward Witten out of the end zone.
"(Those were) the longest 10 seconds I've ever been around," Coughlin said. "They got three plays in 10 seconds, two of which went to the end zone. Seems like a little much to me. We'll have to see if we can get some kind of response from the league on that."
Could the Giants execute three plays in 10 seconds?
"I don't think so," Coughlin said. "When there were seven seconds, I was telling the coaches this morning, when there are (seven) seconds, and you've got the ball - that's happened to us. Then I rushed in there, taking a timeout, and then said, 'You know what? We can't take a chance on this, go ahead and kick the field goal with seven.' Based on that, the way in which that was projected last night, we could've had two plays."