What Washington is saying ahead of Week 9 matchup
The Giants are hitting the road to take on the Washington Football Team at FedExField in Week 9. The Giants emerged victorious in the first meeting between the two teams this season, defeating Washington 20-19 in Week 6. Big Blue rushed for 132 yards in this game, including 74 yards on seven carries from Daniel Jones, but it was the defense that came up with the big play late in the game. Kyler Fackrell sacked and stripped Washington QB Kyle Allen, and rookie linebacker Tae Crowder picked up the ball and returned it 43 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Here is what Washington head coach Ron Rivera had to say to Giants beat reporters ahead of the Week 9 NFC East matchup.
Q: In a year like this, a Covid-impacted year with no preseason where there's just so many injuries, is a bye week that much more important to a team to get healthy and get itself right?
A: Yeah, I think it is, especially byes that are coming up now at the midway point. I think those are really important just because a lot of the residual stuff that comes from going through training camp and not really having a training camp, those injuries that happened in Weeks 4, 5 and 6, now you start getting these byes where you get that extra week that they get the chance to really focus in on recovery. As a team, too, I think those are important, I really do.
Q: When you play a team so close together like you and the Giants getting together now, do you anticipate a lot of changes in your preparation for the opponent or do you get to a point where it's essentially a continuation of all the things that you had in place the last time you guys played?
A: What's going to happen is you're going to break them down from the last few games they played, you're going to look at the tendencies, look at what they do, they're going to do the same thing, they'll self-scout and they're going to put some things in. Watching them on Monday night, they went no-huddle for a series for a period of time, so you know that they can do that. Saw a trick play, you know they can do that. Then, they're going to go back and look at what they did against you with success and you can anticipate they're going to do something like that again. To me, it's really about what they do, really about what they've done based on what you're going to get off the tape, and then you've got to anticipate something, whether it's no-huddle type of stuff, whether it's a different personnel grouping, that type of thing.
Q: Obviously, you have enough experience coaching in this league where if your meetings are separated by a month or two months, you're looking at a completely different team. Is there an advantage to be had for a team like yours coming off a bye? You've only had one game since the last time you saw the Giants. Is there a competitive advantage to be gained with that or do you kind of think it's similar for both teams?
A: I think it's similar for both teams because you can say, 'Hey, they've been playing, they're continuing, they've got their motion, they've got their rhythm.' But for us, just looking at where we are coming off the bye, hopefully we're a little bit healthier, little more rested. We'll see how it unfolds, though, because sometimes it doesn't matter.
Q: This has been about as eventful a first year for any coach in the history of the NFL given everything that's gone on in Washington with COVID and with your personal situation. Can you kind of address that challenge and what it's done for you, if anything, in terms of adding to your life experience?
A: Well, I think the big thing, going back and looking when I got started to all the stuff that went on from the BLM movement to the name change, to the allegations that came out in a couple of the stories written in the newspaper, to my health, more so than anything else. Then, dealing with COVID, I think the one thing initially was trying to keep the players focused on football, on really staying into who we are as a football team, staying into what we're trying to get accomplished as a football team in terms of our growth and development as a new set of coaches coming in trying to create a new culture. That was one of the hard parts, trying to keep everything focused in on football and then trying to get the preparation going. Then trying to, for me personally, stay involved with the team as I was going through my treatments. That was probably one of the more difficult things that I've had to deal with, and then at the same time trying to present the right type of front for our players. It was a challenge, it really was. Probably the hardest thing for me was not being able to be there and be focused all the time on the development of our football team and at times I felt guilty about it because it's a group of young men that deserve to have their coach there, and not being able to be there and be prepared for them, that was hard.
Q: When you walked out of the hospital and rang the bell last Monday, what was going through your mind and did you expect the kind of national outpouring of support that you ended up getting after that?
A: It was surreal, it really was because I can remember looking back to August and having found out as far as the diagnosis was concerned. Just the anger I felt about it, the concern, the fear I had about it, and then finding out what my regime was going to be – seven weeks of treatments, 35 proton treatments, three cycles of chemotherapy – and just knowing how far it was to go. But ringing the bell and really thinking about how much I did accomplish, the things that we did accomplish and knowing that we were fortunate we caught it or knowing that we had a plan and a good group of doctors behind us, hoping now that I'm in the recovery phase that the medicine that's in me continues to do its job and finish off the cancer. Then, when I start getting my checkups, my PET scan in January, that everything is fine. I'm still going through the process, but at the same time, I'm not getting the treatments anymore and that really, honestly is a relief.
Q: Your energy is better now?
A: It's coming, it really is. It's starting to come along. The one thing I will say – and I don't know who the President is going to be – but I will say this, having gone through what I've gone through in the last probably 12 weeks from my diagnosis until now is we need to have some form of Affordable Care Act. I don't care if it's a Republican or a Democrat, I think there's a group of Americans that need to be covered, that need to have the benefit of that and we need to figure it out quickly because I'm serious, I saw what it costs, I saw what it means and I'm very fortunate that I'm under the NFL medical plan, the one that [Washington Owner Dan] Mr. Snyder has set up for our team. But I can only imagine what it is for Americans who don't have it and for us to be one of the richest countries in the world and not have a good medical plan for our citizens is disappointing.
Q: Can you just talk about the challenge of facing an offensive line that rotates different players in like the Giants seem to at tackle and like they might at guard now?
A: I'll tell you what, though, they are a big, physical offensive line. I know that's one of the hallmarks that [General Manager] Dave Gettleman is trying to establish there, that big guys allow you to be competitive and be physical. You see it with their offensive line, you see it with their defensive line. The hard part for the guys that are playing against a rotational group, they've got to study everybody, they've got to know if there's nine offensive linemen up that are eligible to play, or eight or whatever that number is, they've got to understand and know who all those guys are. It's going to be interesting to see how our guys adapt to it, but you play who lines up and you really play what they do.
View photos of the Washington Football Team starters ahead of the Week 9 matchup, based on their unofficial depth chart.
Logan Ryan grateful after wife's health scare
Like all head coaches, Joe Judge would excuse a player from practice only under extraordinary circumstances.
And that's exactly what defensive back Logan Ryan faced this week.
Ryan was departing MetLife Stadium following the Giants' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 a.m. Tuesday when he received a phone call from his wife, Ashley. She had flown to Florida, where they have a home, so she could vote in the presidential election.
We'll let Ryan pick up the story from there.
"She was telling me about some pain she had in her stomach," said Ryan, who has a daughter, Avery, and a son, Otto, with Ashley. "She wanted to sleep it off. She was in extreme pain, but she said she'll wait until the morning. I talked to one of our trainers about the symptoms. He said, 'No, she needs to go to the ER.' My wife ended up going to the ER, and they ended up catching (an) ectopic pregnancy, where the egg was in the wrong place in her fallopian tube and it was about to burst. She ended up going into emergency surgery. … They ended up saving her and ended up preventing a lot of what could have been done. That was a trainer on our team, Justin Maher, telling my wife to go to the ER at 1 a.m. and could have saved her life or saved a lot of internal bleeding there. That's the type of organization we have here. My kids are okay, my wife is recovering well, she's okay."
Ryan was just as gratified with Judge's response to his family's situation later in the day as he was with Maher's initial reaction.
"Joe said, 'If you need to fly to Florida, don't worry about football,'" Ryan said. "That's who Joe is as a man and as a coach. I know we care about X's and O's and winning and losing, but there are really good people here. That's why I came here. There are really good trainers here, there are really a lot of people behind the scenes that are working really hard for us to get wins. I'll do everything I can to play for a coach like that and play for an organization like this because if that wasn't the case, I don't know if my wife would be here today. Honestly, I'm extremely grateful for this organization and for Joe, and for everyone to understand that there are things bigger than football, especially this year."
Carter Coughlin would trade his first career sack against Tom Brady for a win
Carter Coughlin played only four defensive snaps in the Giants' loss Monday night to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of them he'll never forget.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Coughlin recorded the first tackle of his career – and it happened to be eight-yard sack of perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady – who, at 43, is 20 years younger than the rookie linebacker.
"I didn't say anything to him after the sack," Coughlin said today. "The moment it happened, I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe that just happened.' It was kind of like a little blackout moment. I only got to think like that for three seconds and then it was back to 'we need to go win this game' and stuff like that. But I didn't say anything to him."
Coughlin couldn't grab the ball from Brady's hands or wrestle the helmet off his head. But he did find a way to preserve the memory of the first signature moment of his career.
"Keep my jersey and sign it," Coughlin said. "It's definitely a cool memory. Definitely something I'll remember forever."
Coughlin was the first of the Giants' four seventh-round draft choices this year, from the University of Minnesota. He is now one of several rookies who have played regularly or are working their way toward more prominent roles on the team.
Practice Photos: Giants gear up for Washington
Check out the gallery below to view photos of Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center ahead of the Giants' Week 9 matchup in Washington.
View photos of Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.