Coach Coughlin meets the media a day after the Giants' loss to the Jets
Good afternoon. We've had a chance to look at the tape and talk to the players and meet with the players today. Obviously everybody is disappointed. We're all disappointed, you're disappointed. But the conclusion that I come to—we'll win when we deserve to win. We haven't done enough things in order to put ourselves over the top. Obviously the end of the game situations have been discussed many, many times over. I've tried, openly, honestly, to remove that situation from happening, from our defense from having to deal with that at the end of the game. It didn't work out the way I wanted it to, but that's been something that I've tried to aggressively take care of over the course of the season. But I think when you look at the opportunities that we've had, and I use the one, again, I spoke to you last night—we had the ball on the 31-yard line, we had the ball on the four-yard line—we kept going backwards and by the time we had the penalty situations over with we were punting the football rather than kicking a field goal. Any one of the circumstances along the line which would have been more than a field goal would have given us the momentum that we needed to win the game. Whether it be fourth and two—field goal, whether it be a field goal after the turnover, whatever the situation might be, had we been able to convert that, and we didn't -- we were 0 for 3 in the green zone -- into a touchdown, then the game would have been ours. That wasn't to be. I credited the players the way they practiced last week and worked, they did a good job on Wednesday, a good job on Thursday. The penalties continue to be a problem, the offensive penalties are too many and too foolish, and really ill timed, not anything that goes without stopping a drive or something of that nature. So we have got to get back to work. We have four games to go, we're going to work extra hard as a coaching staff and the players will work hard. We've got to try and find a way to win a game and to change this negativity and so on and so forth—get our momentum going in the right direction.
Q: You said after the game it's hard to bring a team up after a loss like that. Did that carry over to today?
A: Well, what I said and what I meant perhaps—when you bring a team together after a loss like that and try to address that, it's difficult, it's very difficult. They're very disappointed, they're down, they're frustrated, there are all kinds of feelings and emotions, which you would expect. They're competitors. That's just the nature of the business. Today after having an opportunity to gather and talk about it with their teammates so on and so forth, they're quiet, they're disappointed, there's remorse for opportunity lost. And they can see it again when they look at the tape, they'll see it for themselves. Those things are not easy. We're all sick of losing, let's face it. We're all sick of that, going through that. We've had too many very, very close games that went the other way at the end of the game for whatever reason. It's not any one individual, it's not any one group, everyone contributes. As I said last night, had we taken the ball with a four-minute offense and kept the ball, which you're supposed to do, they would have never got the ball back. So we didn't do that. Everyone wants to refer to the different phases, whatever. I'll answer whatever questions you have.
Q: What did you see as being the difference? You played good defense for 51 minutes.
A: Well, it's a four quarter game, first of all, I'll tell you, and that's exactly what I told our team. And it goes for our offense, too. Twenty points in the first half, none in the second half. What games are you going to win like that? What games are you going to win scoring 13 or 10 points, whatever that might be? It's a four quarter game, you've got to play that way the entire ball game. You can't get to a situation where all of a sudden you stop making plays or don't make plays that are there. Let's face it, we should have had two interceptions. We should have had at least two interceptions, maybe another. The (Landon) Collins' situation, he was prone and extended, maybe that wouldn't have been an easy catch. But there were a couple of catches that were easy catches and we didn't make them. One opportunity, the ball was tipped and right at the goal there, maybe because it was moving, it was not an easy ball to catch, but it could have been caught. So there's all kinds of those things in a game, you know that. So for 60 minutes you have to play. You've got to have poise. Sometimes I didn't think we were as poised as we should have been. But the bottom line is when the game is on the line people have to step up and make plays. We didn't do that. We didn't do that to the extent that would have allowed us to win. We talked about special teams play all week and how we really needed our special teams to step up. When we looked at the special teams categories, we thought we could. And we got the big punt return. And we actually had a kickoff return in the overtime, that ball was at the 43-yard line. That's pretty good field position. It was nothing much to see the ball over in plus territory creating, again, another opportunity. And we got the foolish penalty that made it a 48-yarder instead of a 43-yarder. And I didn't like the third down play, which wasn't as competitive as it should have been, nor did it keep the drive alive. You know, you're playing for a touchdown, you're playing to win, you're not playing to tie the game. You're not playing that way, that's not how I play, anyway. I would tend to be that way from an aggressive standpoint anyway. But you've got to make the plays when the plays are there—that's either defense or offense or whatever. I was serious with JPP, there was one of those screen balls that was not very far from his ability to reach out and catch it. I just visualize a guy with that kind of ability making that play and going the other way with one of those screens that were right on the line of scrimmage as far as that goes. So all kinds of things, all kinds of opportunities as it is, again, when you evaluate a game. Just one or two plays. It's interesting when you look back and the point is made with our players which I did today again, is every play is so critical in the game—every play. It could be one or two plays in a ballgame, I used to say five, but really this year it could be one. One play makes the difference in a ballgame, and it's got to be the one that you make. You've got to make it not the other guy.
Q: You mentioned the four-minute offense. The goal is obviously to put a drive together and hold the ball, but you ran the ball on first, two yards, second down, two yards. It looked like you were trying to take time off the clock, then you're in a predictable down and distance to throw it. Should that drive been constructed differently?
A: Not necessarily. Had you sent your big people in the game, it might have been maybe three runs or (two) runs and a play action pass or something of that nature. But you have to understand, and I think you do, if you've looked at the Jet tape, they do a really good job when they load up in the box when you're tight. So that was a consideration. We had practiced and talked about a few plays from that look. But to be able to stay open and to get it third and five or six, third and six as it was, that is actually the situation that we normally practice, which means you know you have to make a play in the passing game to keep the ball. And I think that's generally the way the league is constructed today with what we call four-minute. I don't see anybody just, maybe occasionally, but you don't get many teams that allow you to just put it down there and run it. You do have to end up throwing it, and that's the situation we normally practice. Do we make a play there? No, we did not. They did a good job with Beckham on that play, too, riding him outside and not letting him get inside. But that's something that we do specifically prepare for.
Q: Are teams respecting the play action in those situations in your estimation?
A: This wasn't play action.
Q: In general in those situations?
A: Well, we did do a few things with play action last night. One, which I thought we did, hold the linebackers on the line of scrimmage perhaps. It would be better if we ran the ball better obviously.
Q: Do you have a theory on Rueben Randle. He caught more than 70 balls a year ago and was a real viable threat opposite Odell. What's happened with him in terms of not only catching the ball, but it seems like continuing routes and being precise on some routes?
A: That's a very good question. Like, for example, last Wednesday Rueben practiced very well. Thursday was okay, not great. He made a heck of a catch to set up the fourth down call just to catch the ball, which was one of those things with people flying around. The ball was thrown in his direction and he made a nice adjustment and catch. That's a question which, quite frankly, if I were to answer, I would be speaking to Rueben.
Q: To go back to one thing you said earlier, can you realistically expect Jason Pierre-Paul to catch an interception? I'm not trying to be anything other than just curious about specifics. Have you seen him catch a ball with the club on his hand?
A: I've seen him catch it—it was this hand and I've seen him do that a couple times. I think he could.
Q: Defensively, the wide open spaces in the middle of the field which have been pretty consistent, is that scheme? Is it talent, which is what you hear outside of this building, you hear an awful lot that the Giants defense just isn't talented enough to defend? What do you attribute that to?
A: There have been holes in our underneath coverage, no doubt. But the couple of passes that ended up 16 and 15 yards right there in that final drive—to be honest, they had a really nice under/over idea against a specific coverage and they caught the coverage twice. And there really is, the linebacker gets caught there because if he comes up, it's behind; if he stays deep, it's in front. So the safety is coming in from depth and the safety ends up making the tackle but he can't disrupt the throw when the linebacker commits to the underneath route. The linebacker did commit to that. In some ways, it's scheme and in other ways we haven't covered anybody real tight in those underneath things, even when we're playing in zone coverage. That's something that's a constant with trying to improve that aspect of it. And I think we do have some people that can cover, I really do.
Q: Do you have confidence in your defense to make stops late for you guys?
A: Do I have confidence that they can?
Q: Just based on what you've seen so far?
A: We haven't been able to do it. I'm not going to speak about my—I believe we can and I hope the heck we will, and it better happen fast. That's the situation that I've been telling you that I've tried to avoid putting our defense in that situation.
Q: What gives you confidence, though, that they can get it done in that spot?
A: Just my belief in the guys that are teaching it and the guys that are playing.
Q: Do you have update on Ereck Flowers?
A: Ankle, to the point where he was still on crutches today. I don't think, and I don't have anything right in front of me…another sprain, perhaps like the one he had previously.
Q: On the fourth and two play, are you limited in terms of play calling by the fact that running the ball down there, you just have not been able to do that?
A: No. If you remember now, we've had, a year ago, some decent success running the ball down there. It's always with a pass and if they take the run away, then it becomes the pass. Last night there were different options—one, it was a certain pass if they were in one look and there was another pass if there were in another one.
Q: Your own status moving forward seems to be at issue here going into the final month of the season. Do you feel that way? Do you sense that?
A: No, no, I don't. I don't pay any attention to it. I'm trying to stay focused for the benefit of my team, my coaches, and everybody else. Quite frankly, you can all disagree, but we're trying to win games the best way we can. To be honest with you, nobody knows my team better than I know my team. So when you sit in judgement of what goes on, it's all been thought out, whether you like it or not, whether it's right or wrong. Had some of these things been things that we would have accomplished, it'd be a little bit different story. The majority of what we've done, and you well know it, is to try to put ourselves in a position where that last drive is not going to put us in the situation we've been in four or five times, and obviously it hasn't happened. We've tried for touchdowns instead of field goals and it hasn't happened.
Q: How frustrating is that, that you keep making these decisions and it seems like whatever button you press, the execution isn't there?
A: It's pretty frustrating, to be honest with you. But you know what, I've always done it this way, I blame myself.
Q: How do you go about fixing the late game problems? What do you do at this point 12 games into the season to try and fix that?
A: Like I said, somebody's got to make a play. In order to get out of that jam, and it doesn't take a lot—it could be a fourth and six stop, which we thought we had the right call on when the quarterback ran the ball. And we did and we actually checked out of a line stunt that would have put someone right in front of where he came, it's craziness.
Q: What can you as a coach do?
A: Keep coaching. Keep working, keep grinding, keep planning, keep deciding, keep making decisions based on what we have. Be aggressive. Don't sit back because the world thinks it's not getting done. We know better.
Q: You've been in these kinds of situations where things have gone against you and it doesn't look very hopeful at the end of seasons and sometimes you've fought out of them and sometimes not. Is there something that you kind of search for internally or with your team that you almost enjoy that kind of situation of backs against the wall type thing?
A: Well, it is what it is. I don't know that I search for something. It's part of my makeup anyway, the competitive nature. Nothing that I would just, other than what you just said, the fact that when you're in this situation, you've got to work harder than ever to make sure that everyone believes and stays on the same page. Again, it's team first, not any individuals, which we've had to talk about that a lot, too. You've got to come out swinging and you've got to be together to do it. It is about team and it's all those intangibles and all those values that you've preached from day one. You've got to keep bringing them up and sharing them with your players and your coaches.
Q: Do you ever think of these five games and how they've been lost in the final moments and just shake your head? It is almost an incredible string of events that you've lost these five. Do you ever think of it?
A: I do and think of the exact circumstance and exactly what happened and why or how it could have been changed, but then I move on. You have to.
Q: You do have, based on the division, on paper, a legitimate shot here.
A: Yes, we do, and that's something that we continue to drive home, as well.
Q: How hard do you root for the Cowboys tonight?
A: (No answer, smiles)
Q: Jasper Brinkley has had a couple games at linebacker. Can you just comment about the job he's done there?
A: He's a physical force inside, he's done a good job of that. I think he's learning and playing a little bit better each time out there. It's timing.
Q: Eli said he had an X-ray, he didn't say on what.
Q: Is there anything you're worried about going forward?
Q: On the challenge, was that for the two yards? You thought it was two yards?
A: Well first, upstairs, it was the 27-yard line that he stepped out at. So I was upset when I found out it was the 22. But you know what? It still should have been given to us. Because what did they do? They took a timeout away. It's ridiculous.
Q: You're not saying the 27?
A: No, I'm challenging that he stepped out of bounds.
Q: What was their explanation?
Q: …what was the play in particular?
A: You're talking about the fourth down?
Q: The fourth and 2.
A: It was the play we had run earlier in the year, we've had great success with it and they covered it well the way they tried to pass it off, the safety came down and I would've had to work a second window or come back to my back on a route, but they got pressure and didn't have that luxury. Still thought I could maybe hit Rueben just kind of running by. The defender wasn't looking at me, he was looking at Rueben. I thought Rueben could run by him and still possibly make the catch or get an interference call. Didn't work out that way, though.
Q: Is he the primary on that?
A: Yeah, for the most part. Yes.
Q: Did you see Will Tye there when you watched it backed? He was at the goal line with Dwayne Harris behind him. Was that a possibility?
A: Could've been a possibility. Could've come back to him, could've come back to him late, but just didn't have that opportunity.
Q: You look at the league, if Dallas wins tonight, you're back to where you were…
A: Before, yeah. We're still very much in it, but we've got to win some games and just got to start now. Got to start with Miami, so we've got to—we can't get discouraged, we can't have any quit in us, we've got to keep fighting, continue to have a great week of preparation, practice, and then perform at a higher level on game day. Just get some energy back into the locker room, get some excitement and get that winning feeling back.
Q: Is it a play or two that's the difference in your mind?
A: Yeah, in a lot of cases, there was, definitely. We hit it, we made a lot of big plays, lot of nice things and thought we left some big plays out there as well. Couple of great opportunities to get touchdowns or big plays, whether the run game and the pass game, you see it on film and it's for one reason or another it's not happening. You've got to give credit to the other team. Some of it's their doing, also; them getting pressure, them doing something that takes some things away. We knew coming in with their style and some of the things they did they would have some good coverages at times and did some things that was going to make it tough on us, but we also had some opportunities to make some big plays. We hit a lot of them, but we needed a few more.
Q: You had Bobby Hart starting and then you lost Ereck Flowers, how did the offensive line in its revamped form hold up?
A: I thought the offensive line did well. It's a good defensive front and so we knew we had to. It wasn't a game where we wanted to come out and throw it 60 times against that front with some new offensive linemen, some new guys. I thought that they, when Dallas (Reynolds) came in and Bobby and (Justin) Pugh moved outside, guys competed and gave us an opportunity to make some plays.
Q: How's your ankle?
A: It feels good.
Q: When did you hurt it?
A: Somewhere in the third quarter.
Q: Was that when you tried to run the ball?
A: It was not.
Q: Did it bother you throughout the game?
A: No, no, it didn't. Felt fine. I think just always I get checked out all the time, bumps and bruises. You get the doctors on it, get on it early so you heal up quickly. They always take precaution and that's why I got the X-ray, but no issues and it feels good.
Q: You don't expect to miss practice time?
A: I don't think so.
Q: Aside from the fact that you are in it, what's the confidence level here right now?
A: Obviously guys were down today. It was a tough day today just because felt we had opportunities, felt we left a lot of plays out there and just had the lead and had some chances. We made some mistakes, we didn't play as well as we needed to at times, but I think we'll bounce back and look forward to us getting back to work, getting back to our preparation and making plays. I think we'll be fine, just knowing—hey, we want to get a win. The only way to fix this feeling we have right now is to play better football and get a win and it'll solve some issues.
Q: Lot of fingers are being pointed at your coach. You as a leader of the team, what do you sort of make of that?
A: Coach put us in a position, he trusts us to go make a play and we've got to do it. We've got to play better at some critical moments in the game. We do some good things, we get close, we do a lot of good things and it's just kind of that final step, those last few yards and the difference between winning games and losing games. We're just not making that crucial play to get us the win.
Q: Fourth or fifth time it's happened. Is it a mental thing? Is it something you think is in guys' heads at this point?
A: I hope not. I hope guys don't expect that. I hope they don't think it's going to happen. I think this one was a little different, went into overtime and we had the ball with a chance to go win the game. We haven't gotten those, that situation a whole lot. We've got to take advantage of it. Again, we got close, had a third down ball down the right sideline to Odell and just missed that one and it's just little things like that. I've got to throw a better ball, we've got to make a play there, and then a chance to score a touchdown and win the game and we didn't. We just didn't make that play, but we'd come back with 4th and 7 and we made that play. Those are big time plays. It wasn't easy. There are some good things, there are some great efforts and great plays being made, but there are just too many bad plays as well.
Q: What do you see in the demeanor of the huddle and on the sideline when you're in these close games? Does it change at all? Is that just the normal reaction for teams late in games or is it sort of the same as it is throughout?
A: Yeah, I think it seems to be the same. I don't notice a difference, I feel like we still have a confidence in ourselves that we're going to go out there and make plays and make the drives and do what we have to do to win the game.
Q: Tom said you had an X-ray on your ankle, was it the same one you had surgery on?
Q: I'll look it up, but which one would it be?
A: I'll make you work (laughs).
Q: But you're good as far as…
A: Yeah. Yeah, I feel good.
Q: Good to practice?
A: I would think so, yes.
Q: You've been around here during periods of time when people are questioning whether the coach is going to stick around and it seems to be happening again. Is that something you're aware of or that motivates you?
A: I've got to worry about this team just like he does. We're about getting this team playing better, winning games and everything else will take care of itself if we do our job better.
Q: He's been good in these kinds of situations before, not every time. In the two Super Bowl years, there were definite moments of this thing doesn't look like…What is it about him that comes out in this situation?
A: Well, I think it brings energy, it brings determination that we've got to keep fighting. It brings that mentality, that fighter mentality, and that's what we need. We've got to have that kind of don't—we're not going to let this happen, we've got to make it work.
Q: Will you pay attention tonight to Cowboys-Redskins?
A: Yeah, of course. We always pay attention to what's going on in the division. It affects us. I guess at this point we'll be rooting, got to be rooting, for the Cowboys.
Q: Strange, huh?
A: Well, it happens. I guess we've had to root for divisional teams before, but I don't think I'll be wearing a Matt Cassel jersey or anything, but we'll be hoping they can pull out a win.
Q: Tom [Coughlin] says, "You'll win when you deserve to win".
A: I agree.
Q: How close are you to that?
A: I don't know. All the guys came in today, we watched film, so we know exactly what we need to do to get this team going.
Q: You know what you need to do to get the team…
A: I said we know what to do. Coming in and not having bad practices, execute our plays betters, and play some great football.
Q: Is it, maybe difficult isn't the right word, but does it require a focus that even though you lost yesterday, you lost three straight, that you're still in it in the division? Is it almost kind of hard to wrap your head around it but at the same time you have to?
A: I mean, we're still in it. Anything can happen any given Sunday. You just have to go out there and play some great football. The tackles that we missed, we have to make those tackles, yards after the catch, we can't let that happen, and we have to get to the quarterback faster. We have to play the run even better as a defense, basically all of those things.
Q: Justin [Pugh] said last night that if you guys can get to the playoffs, you're a dangerous team. Do you feel that way?
A: I think anytime we make the playoffs, we're a dangerous team. It doesn't matter when we make the playoffs or where, how we got in it. You know once we get in, it's one and done, and everybody knows that for sure. I think the playoffs are a beautiful thing, only the good teams make it, and hopefully we get back in it this year.
Q: Do you feel like the leaders, guys like you and Eli [Manning], maybe some of the other guys who have been here, have to convince this group?
A: For me, I think my play says it all. It's only my fourth game back, I'm getting better and better each game and I'm not the type of guy that does a lot of talking. I let my play do the talking for me. As far as other guys, if they follow, they follow. I'm more of a guy that whenever I'm on the field, I'm going to give 110% no matter how I feel and they see it.
Q: Coach Coughlin mentioned today there was a ball at the line of scrimmage he thought you might have been able to pick off.
A: Yeah, he mentioned it to me. I didn't really see it until he mentioned it to me, but I watched the film and I probably could've made that play. I was too busy trying to get to the quarterback and trying to get there fast enough, so I didn't play that technique well enough. It's football. I feel like as long as you're going fast and you're giving 100 percent effort, then if you see it, you see it. If you get there late, you get there late, but I didn't see it at all. I was just going 100 percent.
Q: Like you didn't see the ball?
A: I didn't see the ball at all. On film you see I could have probably made that play.
Q: Is that just a lack of awareness?
A: My awareness wasn't that good on that play.
Q: You think maybe 10, 12, 14 games into a season, maybe you…
A: Yeah, of course, of course I would have seen that play, but I didn't.
Q: Are you satisfied with everybody's effort? You talk about your own a lot.
A: Yeah, I'm satisfied with my team's effort. I speak for the defense. Like I said, I don't know if a guy is going 100 percent, only they know. When the game is over, there is no need to argue or be very pissed off. I feel like if you give that effort, then you did your best. I feel like I did the best I could and I only want to get better from there. I came in today and looked at film and I know where I need to get better at.
Q: You had a much larger wrap and club on your hand.
A: You think so? I don't think so. I think it was the same as I've been using since I came in.
Q: It seemed like your thumb was a covered up a little more?
A: I don't know.
Q: You don't know?
A: I don't remember. It's not in my locker so I don't know.
Q: You've been to the top of the mountain with this team before. A lot of other fellas who have only been here the past three years, they haven't been there. What do you tell them about the kind of push that's necessary to get you guys into contention again?
A: I've been there, I've been to a Super Bowl, I've been to the playoffs, we made the run my second year I was here with those other guys. No matter what the negativity was on the outside, what people were saying about us, we came together as a team and that's very special to have when all the guys come together as a team. I'm talking about special teams, offense, and defense. If the offense wasn't doing well, the defense made the plays until the offense does well, and I just think if we come in like that with that mindset, then we can actually go far. We've got four games left and we can win all four of them, but it's all up to the players, man. The players have to give it all in and come in and practice, even if you're hurt, just come in and do your job. You're going to be banged up around this time of the season.
Q: Has there been much pep talk between the offense, defense, and specials? Have guys crossed those lines to kind of pep each other?
A: Yeah, but as a player, you take in what you want to take in. It's been improvement, you see the guys on punt return just getting after it and stuff. I think as a team we need to come together as a team and communicate.
Q: When you guys had that run in 2011, you had a lot of vocal leaders on that team, Antrel [Rolle], Osi [Umenyiora], [Justin] Tuck, do you feel like this team has that vocal leadership, too?
A: I don't know that was in 2011. The faces have changed. We have vocal leaders but like I say, I'm not a vocal person, my play does my speaking, and that's basically it for me. You've got other guys who like to talk, but I'm more of a do it all on the field, don't say it. You'll see every Sunday who's putting their heart out there, so that's basically it.