Giants head coach and players react following the team's matchup vs. the Eagles:
Coach Ben McAdoo**
Opening Statement: It was good to come out and win after the bye in the division. Now we've got to focus and we have to get better. We have to get better in each of the three phases.
Q: Do you have any updates on Justin [Pugh] and Victor [Cruz]?
A: No updates. We'll take a good look at them this week.
Q: What's the biggest difference with this team before the bye week and after?
A: We used a lot of different players today. I think most of the guys on the roster played today. All the guys out there on the 46 played a significant impact in the ballgame. It was a next man up type of game.
Q: Anyone in particular stand out to you?
A: I'm going to have to take a look at the tape. I'm not going to single out anyone right now.
Q: You started off with two interceptions and went up 14-0. How much of that was a good start for you guys?
A: It was good to get the two turnovers and cash into it on the offensive side of the ball. The defense keeps coming up with the ball. That's encouraging. The offense was finding a way to get into the endzone -- that was big for us. We have to learn to have that killer instinct for us and get up by two scores and keep our foot on the gas and not let them back into the ballgame. We do know that it is a four quarter-plus ballgame. So that being the case, we have to play the game as it unfolds and we kept playing there right until the very end.
Q: Can you explain what happened on the pass to Odell that was ruled an interception?
A: It looked to me like he caught the ball with his hands and went to the ground and they came up with the ball. I'm going to have to see it on tape.
Q: You said before the bye you wanted to focus on the run game. You only had 54 yards today. What did you see out there with the running game?
A: I thought at the end of the game we had some nice runs come out. [Paul] Perkins showed some balance there. It was a tough front to run against but we have to run the ball better.
Q: Why feed the ball more to Perkins - what was the thinking behind that for you?
A: We talked about mixing some players in and making sure we use everyone on the 46.
Q: You also did a lot of six-man lines there at the end and even in the first half. Why did you do that and did you think it was effective?
A: Yeah, we wanted to acclimate Marshall [Newhouse] back in and we wanted to use as much of the 46 as we can and get every player involved in the game.
Q: Are you happy that Dwayne [Harris] took that kickoff and didn't get back to the 25?
A: No, I'm not happy we had the ball on the 12-yard line.
Q: When you got hired, you said the last year you had leads but couldn't always hold them. This year your defense has held a lot of leads in the fourth quarter. How big of a difference does that make in general?
A: Last year is in the rearview mirror. You go back, you learn from the past and you work on today. We believe that we are going to win these football games. We believe that we're a physical team. We've just got to hang onto leads and win the games. We know we're going to get better as the game goes on and we're going to win in the end.
Q: That confidence kind of overflows through this team when the defense hunkers down late in the game.
A: It's all three phases of play. It's not one phase.
Q: You said it was encouraging to see the ball get into the endzone by the offense. Do you think this is Eli's best game so far this season?
A: He had those unfortunate turnovers. I thought he did a nice job completing the ball today. Again, we'll have to go back and take a look at the film.
Q: Can you talk about that sequence starting with the third down play where Eli's pass got tipped and intercepted and your defense was put in a bad position.
A: It was a tipped ball on a chance to get a first down on a couple of different options there. They had a big body over the middle. The ball got tipped. I think it would've been a good position to get the first down there. The defense stayed and played aggressive. Spags [Coach Spagnuolo] did a great job and called it aggressive. They were feeding off of them right there. They challenged the perimeter and got some good rushes and rose to the occasion.
Q: On third down - you decide to pass the ball - the interception. What was your decision on that?
A: They had to use their last timeout and run five seconds off the clock. They couldn't get it. Then we had 1:50 to work with. Just win the game and play aggressive.
Q: Were you pleased with what you got out of [Will] Tye and [Jerell] Adams at tight end today?
A: I thought they got better today.
Q: Before Victor Cruz got hurt, it seemed his snaps were reduced. Is that accurate?
A: We just talked about using all the 46. Rotate as many players as we can in the ballgame and get them some quality reps.
Q: Jason Pierre-Paul probably had his best game in the last two years. Can you talk about his play today?
A: He looked like he was getting off the ball good. He had a good first step putting pressure on the tackles. Playing aggressive, playing physical. He was certainly making messes out there.
Q: You continue to have all these close games but more of them are ending with victories. Is there some way to coach that? Is there some emphasis made to make the end of the game end more in the way you want them to end?
A: We believe and execute. We put our foot on the gas and we play aggressive in all three phases of the game at the end of the game, we are going to pull off a win. I think we stay aggressive and believe in each other and feed off each other.
Q: At one point in the third quarter Eli Apple was on the sideline -- why?
A: Rotating players in and putting the best players on the field for certain situations that give us the best chance to win.
Q: Did he struggle out there today - Eli Apple?
A: He had a missed tackle I saw. He struggled but he'll bounce back. He's a young player.
Q: You talk a lot about belief. Was that an issue a year ago?
A: I don't know. You're going to have to go back to last year's press conferences. That's in the rearview mirror, I'm not answering those questions. We're right here, we're right now.
Q: What did you think of Trevin Wade in place of Apple?
A: I thought Trev had some good plays in there. They went after him on the last one and he had good coverage.
Q: You've gone through a lot of rivalry games, especially with the Packers vs. the Bears. Where does this one rank for you - the Giants over the Eagles?
A: That question is a little too dramatic for me right now. We won in the division and we'll take it. QB Eli Manning
Q: How important for you guys to a two-touchdown lead?
A: That was a big emphasis, try and get off to a fast start. Defense did a great job getting turnovers and offense capitalizing on that, getting two touchdowns, third down conversion on one, hitting Roger Lewis on the post, hitting Odell on the slant. So, a couple of big plays, that was good. Defense played outstanding all game. Offensively, had a couple of good drives, did some good things. But, hey, it was good to get a win. We're finding ways to win close games and tough games and that's what you have to do in this league.
Q: What was going through your mind on that last interception?
A: Well, it's just unfortunate. Will Tye ran a good route, got a guy open, ball gets tipped at the line of scrimmage, so it's just unfortunate. I hate tipped balls, I hate cheap interceptions and that's kind of as cheap as they come with the tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. We had a good play, everybody did the right thing and you have to give credit to them, their defensive line getting a hand up and getting a piece of the ball.
Q: I saw you watching it again on the screen. What's that like to be on the field watching that again?
A: It's tough. It's tough, keep interceptions where they call them, where guys are doing things right, you're in the pocket, you're seeing things, you've got a guy open, you know he's open, you throw it on time, you're having a completion, you're about to close out the game possibly and the ball's tipped. It's unfortunate they got a couple of tipped balls today.
Q: When you make a throw like that, do you have to anticipate it before you release that a guy might throw his arms up there?
Q: What about Odell's interception?
A: Same with Odell. That's another one. Good play, again, had a slant, thought I threw a pretty good ball. He had the ball and whether the ground caused it to come out or the ball popped out, again, another kind of cheap interception. We did better not turning the ball over, obviously those two, they're turnovers, they happen unfortunately. A few interceptions, you hate to put those against the stats because I thought we threw the ball smartly, we were safe with the football today.
Q: On offensive personnel.
A: I think that everybody knows that you've got to be ready. The ball is going to be spread around. Defenses are going to play different coverages, we might have certain plays that go to one guy or a certain guy where you're the first read but, hey, they're playing lots of different coverages, mixing up things. So everybody has to be ready and guys were stepping up and making some nice plays so we have to continue to do that.
Q: On defensive 4th quarter stops.
A: It's great to have. We hate to put them in that position. We want to be able to close out games and go score points and get double-digit leads to end the game and that's what we have to do as an offense. I thought we did a pretty good job in that situation, rushed the ball for a first down, we got a 3rd and 4 and we got a good play; really, a good opportunity to end the game.
But, probably the defense, they're stepping up, making big time plays in clutch situations. Especially playing strong down there in the red zone and holding teams to either field goals or turnovers on downs, a couple of them today. They're playing good football and it's good to have on your side.
Q: You had two under the radar rookies doing great, Roger Lewis Jr and Jerell Adams. What does it say about them, guys who can make a big impact?
A: Roger had a good camp, he's here all spring and he's playing well. When Victor Cruz was out a bunch, Roger was getting a lot of reps so he was kind our starting outside receiver for a lot of training camp, a lot of OTA's and came on and did well. Today, had a nice catch on the post.
He's still learning some things, had an opportunity to hit him on a 3rd down conversion on the left sideline and he has to learn to go up and be able to take a hit right there. Also on a free play on the right sideline, a chance to hit a big play. He's doing some good things and that's good to see. Obviously I don't know what Victor's status is, but he's going to have to play for us and he's going to have to play well.
Q: You looked like you were beating yourself up over that Odell pass in the first half?
A: Yeah, it was one of those where I didn't feel like I overthrew it. Sometimes you can tell, you release and you're like 'oh, I think I put too much juice on it.' I saw him go on the line and I thought I threw it up there, just kind of, I wasn't trying to lead him with a perfect ball really.
I saw him have a big jump and I thought I put it out there in a good spot. I don't know if the sun got in his eyes, where he just didn't find the ball soon enough or didn't have that second kind of burst, explosion that he normally does when he sees the ball coming.
I kind of asked him if the sun got in his eyes and he said, yeah, took him a while to find the ball. Maybe that's a reason but we have to hit that one.
Q: On Paul Perkins.
A: Paul does some good things. He ran the ball tough right there in that situation. Had a couple of nice jobs on the screen. Had a screen earlier too and I thought he rushed it a little bit and got tackled. On the next couple, he did a good job being patient, setting up the blockers, having a better feel. He's good in the pass game and protections and running the ball well for us.
Q: Did you feel better about the offense today? Was it a big step, a tiny step?
A: We did some good things. Hit a couple of big plays, hit a post, hit Shepard on the touchdown. We were much better in the red and green zone areas, scoring touchdowns.
We converted some nice third downs. There were things that were positive and, hey, you're always in a process of improving, getting better. We have to be better on some third downs, too many negative plays where we're going backward and putting ourselves in a bind. Overall, I thought we did some good things against a good defense.
Q: Was this a special win against the Eagles at home?
A: Definitely a big win in the division. Philadelphia, the last few years has had our number. We've played close games but haven't been able to win those close games, so to be able to pull it off today and get that win was nice.
Q: When Justin Pugh went down today how do you think guys like Brett Jones did in his absence?
A: I thought Brett stepped in there and played well. He's a smart guy, knows what he's doing, been here a little bit so he's played some center for us already this year so he knows how to play guard, he knows what he's doing. I thought he came in and did well.
Q: You've lost a lot of close games the last couple of years, do you feel like you're turning a corner?
A: Yeah, it seems that way. I think just with the leadership we have and guys. Obviously defense, we put them in a situation where they've had to make some plays and obviously we had the lead so it's good. But offensively, we've made some nice plays also in games and scoring points and making drives to win. Thinking earlier to the year like in Dallas and against New Orleans.
We're finding ways to win and that's what good teams have to do. It's not always perfect, there's things you can clean up for sure, but you come into the fourth quarter, you have to find ways to win the tough games, the close games and that's what we're doing. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: Divisional win, keeping the streak going. How are you feeling right now?
A: Feeling pretty good. Excited about it. It was a good game.
Q: First time beating the Eagles and it's your birthday. What's this day like?
A: I couldn't get a better present. My teammates, my coaches, this is everything you needed to cap off, or start the weekend. It was a great win we had tonight. We fought for it. Even at times when it looked like they still could win the game, we fought for it.
Q: What can you say about the success you had through the air?
A: We had a good game plan and guys made plays. Roger Lewis came in, unfortunately Vic rolls his ankle. We have our young guy, you have to come in, you have to make plays.
You have to do what we feel like you're capable of doing. He did above and beyond that tonight. Still things we need to clean up in the receiving corps. Couple of drops we had. We just need to come down with them. We need to be more efficient.
Q: What kind of confidence do you get when the defense has two big picks early in the game and you guys capitalize off of them?
A: It's a great feeling. We're playing, in my opinion, I don't know stats or anything like that but just looking at it, this is one of the best defenses in the league. We go against them every single day. We know what they're capable of. It's just great to see it happen. We get two picks and capitalize on it. I'm thinking we're trying to run up the score.
Q: How do you start to put these teams away?
A: You have to. I don't know exactly what you have to do. Once the pressure is applied, you have to apply more pressure. Just find a way to put them out early. The game is never over. These are NFL games. They're going to go down to the wire always. I think there's ways around that. We just need to come out and do better next time. After we put them in a hole, dig it even deeper.
Q: Not only the picks but the fourth-down stops, what kind of momentum does that give you guys?
A: Like I said, this defense, they're phenomenal. To go against them every single day, you know what's expected. There's been times in practice we're prepping a situation and they're stopping us on fourth. It doesn't surprise me, it's just a great feeling. We get to get out there and now we need to make a play for them. They reward us with the ball back and we try and make a play for them. Put points on the board.
Q: 5-3 at the midway point. What do you think of that?
A: That sounds good. Just trying to win the division. Starting one game at a time. Get to the playoffs, hopefully. I haven't had a chance to be in a playoff game. It's a one game at a time thing. You can't look forward to that. You have to look forward to next Monday. How we're going to prepare for them and come out with a win. 5-3, hopefully we can go to 6-3. That puts you in a pretty good place, especially with the other teams in the division. Dallas, they're playing at a high, high level. You have to keep winning.
Q: Did this one feel like a tough divisional game?
A: Yeah. It was the Eagles. For the past two years that I've been here, I haven't won a single game against them. Actually, I've gotten blown out by them most of the times. It was good to get the win. Next time we play them, we're going to be at their house and we know what the challenge is going to be.
Q: Second TD you're at the one-yard line. Were you surprised to have the ball in that situation?
A: To be honest, a little bit. It's something that we had talked about for a while. If they played man-to-man down there, okay, we'll take our chances. Today, we hit one. Hopefully, we will continue to progress with that down the road. Feels good to get one down there.
Q: Anything you have to worry about going forward physically after that play in the middle of the field there?
A: The Bengals.
Q: I mean your body.
A: No, I'm good. I take care of that. It'll be alright. Time heals all.
A: I know we won. I know there were some big plays. We made some, they made some. I think this was more of a game of who's going to come up with a stop. We did that.
Q: What did you say to Victor Cruz when he wasn't out there as much as he usually is?
A: It's very tough. If you really put things into perspective and look at Victor Cruz, look at what he's been through. Starting from the beginning of his journey to the last three years.
The man has come back from surgery on his calf and tendons. I'm sure he will be playing on Monday unless it was a high ankle sprain or something like that. That could take a little bit of time. This isn't going to be something that will hold him back. It's just temporary. DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Q: The quarterback (Carson Wentz) started the season strong. Do you think that having more tape on him helped you out?
A: No, not at all. Like I told him (another reporter), we went out there and played some great defensive ball. No matter what situation that we get in, we just have to play some great defense. Everyone knows that the Giants are based on great defense, so that is what we came here to do. We played great defense and came out with the win.
Q: When you see that ball going into the end zone on the last play, were you nervous?
A: No, no worries. I knew that the corners were going to get it done. DRC was in here talking about it. He knew that he was going to break on that route. That is what vets do. We look at film and no matter how much we look at it; we just keep on looking at it until we feel secure with it. DRC got a great break on that.
Q: Were you surprised that they went for it on fourth down twice?
A: No, not at all. Like I said, Coach Spags has been preaching that they will go for it on fourth down and we were ready for it.
Q: Was that the momentum shifter for you guys?
A: Not at all. No, not at all. We are just playing some great defense.
Q: It must feel great to finally beat the Eagles.
A: Yeah, like I said, we are just taking it one game at a time. That is how we have to do it. We have to move on to the next game now. We have to put this win behind us and move on to the next one. One game at a time and if we do that, we should be good. WR Sterling Shepard
Q: Was this a game of big plays?
A: Yeah, definitely. It was a game of big plays. We knew that we were going to have to do that coming in. We knew that they had a physical defense, so we had to do our part to get open.
Q: Did it feel like they were being a lot more physical than you are used to?
A: No, not really. That is what we saw on film from those guys. Like I said, we knew that they were going to be a physical group of guys, so we knew that we had to bring our boxing gloves with us, so to say. We knew that it was going to be a physical game going into it, so that is what we were prepared for.
Q: How does it feel to come out of the bye, get a win and building on the two wins you had right before the bye?
A: It feels really good. We just have to look to the next game now. We have put this one behind us. It is a huge win for us, but now we have to put it behind us and stay on track. We have been on an uphill slope from here, so we have to keep going in that direction.
Q: On the effect of the self-scouting and film study over the bye week being a key factor in the game.
A: I feel like that worked out. I had a guy on me that I didn't think was going to be playing on me, but I knew it was a possibility. But yeah, it was what I expected.
Q: (from Odell Beckham): Great game today, Shep. How does it feel to get back in the end zone? I know it has been tough, but you found a way to do it. It was a phenomenal catch.
A: Yeah, it was great, man. I had to fight through the contact and we got in there, but I am not going to take any more questions from you. Thank you. WR Roger Lewis Jr.
Q: When did you realize that you were going to play a lot more this week?
A: I didn't really realize it. Maybe when we came back from our break. Coach Sully was like, 'Hey, lets go, it is time to go. I want to see you do that (touchdown) dance.' So that was when I kind of got a feeling.
Q: Did they tell you why you were going to get more looks?
A: No, they just said that it was time to go. I didn't know if that meant that I was going to play more. It was just time to go, so that is it.
Q: Are you looking forward to your first non-touchdown catch?
A: I already got one last week. But I just want to score touchdowns. That is my main goal, to score touchdowns and make sure we win – give it all I have got and that is about it.
Q: What do you think you add to your offense?
A: I think I just add a playmaker. That is it. My playmaking ability from college is still adjusting in the NFL because it is kind of different. I want to be able to be a playmaker. I kind of feed off of guys like Odell. When he scored I was like, 'Hey, I have got to go get me one.' So with me being an undrafted guy, I am going to have to play with a chip on my shoulder and be able to make plays. That is it.
Q: If you are going to have to get one whenever Odell gets one, you are going to have to get a lot of them.
A: I kind of feed off of everybody. I am watching Odell, not even just in the game, even in practice. I have watched every rep that Odell had ever done in practice, Victor Cruz has ever done in practice, Sterling Shepard, so I am watching those guys and learning from those guys every day, but especially Victor Cruz and Odell.