Giants head coach and players react following the team's matchup vs. the Bears:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Tale of the two halves today. I'm proud of the way the guys responded at halftime. 13-0 in the second half. Came out with the fire burning. We still have a lot of work to do, we realize that, and we look forward to doing it.
Q: To what do you attribute the difference defensively between the two halves?
A: That's a good question. We'll go back, we'll take a look at the film. We made some adjustments at halftime, but I think we played inspired football there in the second half from a defensive standpoint.
Q: What was your message at halftime?
A: Just stay the course. Live and learn from the first half, flush the first half, and get back out there and play your tail off in the second half and we'll like where we'll be at the end of the ballgame.
Q: How important was it for you to stop them at the end of the first half? They could have made it a two-possession game but you stopped them
A: Every possession in these ballgames is important when it comes down to the end. Everything seems to count.
Q: On going for it on fourth down just prior to the first touchdown.
A: We thought it was going to be one of those types of ballgames that when you're on the fringe area, whether you kick a field goal, whether you go for it. We needed to go for it on more fourth downs today than normal. We have confidence in the guys to be able to punch it in there, so going for it on fourth down seemed pretty natural.
Q: How did you have to factor the wind in today?
A: It was very tough to handle the ball. Even the last punt that we got off, you saw how it was a tough catch. Catching the snaps today was even a challenge for those guys in the punt game. But the kicking game was a challenge today, the pass was a challenge and it was nice not to turn the ball over today even in a game like this where the elements factor.
Q: On Victor Cruz's 48-yard catch.
A: We just converted into a scramble drill there. Eli stepped up, came out of the pocket, Victor reacted and they had some nice chemistry on the play.
Q: On Landon Collins' performance.
A: Landon came up for us big again today. Anytime you can end the game on a play like that, that's encouraging. Sideline was fired up, we were fired up for Landon, he made a heck of a play.
Q: On the first touchdown, did you decide right then to go for it on fourth down or did you plan that ahead?
A: Was going to take a look at the stakes.
Q: Two missed extra points for Robbie Gould today, have you spoken to him to see what was wrong?
A: We'll address it and we'll move on; it was a tough day to kick the football.
Q: Would you attribute that to the wind or something else?
A: We'll go back, we'll look at it, we'll talk about everything. The wind obviously was a factor every time you had a play in the kicking game today.
Q: Did you consider going for two in either of those point after situations?
A: We considered it, yes.
Q: Three straight games at home, you've won them all. How much did the team impress in front of the home crowd?
A: It was nice to get three wins. It was nice to play in front of the home fans. They were great, they were fired up today, inspired the defense there in the second half. We look forward to this week, getting ready to go back on the road. A road trip will be good for us.
Q: Five-game winning streak for you, how does it feel?
A: It was good to get the win today. We only played once this week. We had a good week of preparation, a short week. It was nice to see it pay off here in the second half.
Q: You're 7-3 after 10 games, how would you describe your position?
A: We're 1-0 this week. We like where we are, we liked how we finished the ballgame today with a win. We'll get ready for next week starting tomorrow.
Q: How much do you think the play of the defense is inspiring the offense?
A: I think that the defense didn't want to play the way it unfolded in the first half and they got it fixed at halftime, they came out, they played inspired football in the second half. The offense came out of the tunnel too with some energy and punched it in twice, that was encouraging to see. We believe all three phases have the capability to step up and make plays in the ballgame to help us win.
Q: How do you feel Eli Manning played?
A: I think Eli handled the elements well and took care of the football on a tough day to do that.
Q: You mentioned having no turnovers today. What are you doing to improve in that regard?
A: We're going to keep working on it. It's not finished, it's not over. Every game is a new game, every week is a new week and we just have to keep working on taking care of The Duke.
Q: They say that the progress a player makes from year one to year two is a very important part of their career. Have you seen a guy like Landon make that much progress from year one to two?
A: I think he's productive. He's just a productive player, he's been productive ever since I've been standing up here in front of you. But he's confident with his ball skills now and you see that showing up any time the ball is in his vicinity. He's a ball hawk.
Q: When Olivier Vernon got called for that flag on the first drive, any explanation on the roughing passer?
A: I believe they felt he took his shoulder and drove Jay Cutler into the ground, that's where the call came from.
Q: What do you think about the way Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul rushed the passer?
A: There were some good rushes today. We forced them into second and long and third and long, there were some very good rushes, even by some of the other guys out there. Everybody played a part.
Q: What exactly did you do in the second half to shut down the run game?
A: Not necessarily the calls, just more of the way we were playing some techniques.
Q: How would you describe the mood of the players at halftime?
A: These guys don't blink, they don't flinch. It's my job to show them that demeanor and I think they feed off of that. I think they understand that. I think we have a good, high character locker room that's not going to flinch, that's going to play the game as it unfolds. Again, they're confident no matter what. Halftime is halftime. I think they're confident no matter what that we're going to pull the game out.
Q: On winning tight games.
A: It's usually the way it turns out in this league. It would be nice to get some games with some larger margins, but that doesn't seem to be the case. We'll play tight games, that doesn't bother us.
Q: What is Marshall Newhouse's status?
A: He jumped back in the game.
S Landon Collins
Q: Landon, in the first half, you guys gave up 214 yards 16 points in the second half 111 yards, which was a big difference defensively. What did you guys do differently?
A: Just execution. We played our defense with style and technique. Everyone came to perform their job and not try to do anyone else's.
Q: Was there a certain conversation at halftime to get you guys to focus to get to that execution?
A: That was the conversation. Do your job and do your job to your excellent ability and everyone else will follow behind you.
Q: On the third down play at the end of the game when you got the interception
A: Definitely respecting the deep ball, deep ball on the seam. They went deep, they needed to get a first down or get a score. However, on the play last week AA (Andrew Adams) and I had experienced a similar play. This time it was an out and up, and I needed to sit back and wait on it. There is no purpose of me playing close to the line of scrimmage when there is a third and 20. I just played back and when I saw the ball coming, I just made myself play not deep. Re: Impact of injury to Zach Miller
A: It affected the game tremendously. That is a great tight end. He goes to guys in certain situations. I hope he gets better. He is a fantastic player. It affected the game, it was a game changer, and he didn't have that many people to go to.
Q: So Cincinnati tried that play last week?
A: Yes, but they didn't go. Like Chicago did an out and up.
Q: So did they actually pass it?
A: He threw it but he was under pressure so it went to the ground.
Q: Do you think they were taking advantage of something else they saw?
A: It is a copycat league. If you see something out on the field and you think you can beat someone with it again, you are definitely going to run it again.
Q: How are you handling the praise and success here at the Giants?
A: I block it. I have been getting the praise since I have been in high school. It is second nature to me. It is coming to me quick right now but I mean I am just taking it as I strive and a blessing right now. I worked this hard to get here and I worked this hard every day in OTAs to know my defense, to know the players, to be on the same page, to be a unit.
Q: What have you learned from playing with JPP and what he told you before the game?
A: JPP told me before the game, you are going to get one today. I was like for him there is no reason he can't get two sacks. He definitely did. He got a forced fumble on one and that was amazing. That opportunity of him saying that to me shows he has a lot of confidence in me to make a play. Re: defense going out to close out the game
A: The feeling is you get on the field and stop them again. To get the ball back on offense and make sure they do not score. That's the feeling and confidence we have in each other. Our offense will definitely do what they need to do.
Q: In these conditions, you know that the offense makes adjustments. Were there any adjustments you had to make defensively when you see the wind being the way that it is?
A: When the ball is in the air? Definitely. I was out there earlier and the ball was going all types of ways. You have to watch the ball and really pay attention to it when the ball is in the air. You have a great quarterback – Cutler has a strong arm, so it was cutting through the wind. It was really on point, so you have to just play through it.
Q: What does it do for the entire defense when the pass rush starts to come alive the way it has in the past few weeks?
A: You don't have to blitz. You can just play coverage and let the guys go.
Q: Is there also a confidence factor?
A: Definitely, because they're setting the edge, they're building the wall and they're making plays and causing fumbles and longer down and distances for us, so that we can play back and not just play the sticks now.
Q: When you had the interception, put your hands on the ball, can you just describe who you saw right away or what guys said to you – you know, a little bit of that scene when you know the game is over there.
A: I think the first person I saw was Trevin Wade. He came in front of me and I was dancing, so he came in front of me and started dancing with me. They were just saying, "We knew you were going to do it. We had confidence in you." A lot of people just hit me on the head. It was a rush.
Q: Who first made you a safety? When did you realize in your life that this was something for you?
A: That's a long story. Back in high school, there was a running back called Eddie Lacy. We went to the same high school together. I was a running back since I was 4 years old, so when I got there, there was no running back for me, so I went to safety and played that.
Q: How do you feel about that now?
A: Fantastic. I mean, I can still be a running back if I need to be, but I definitely feel fantastic because I've done great at the position and I'm just trying to prove that I'm one of the best in the NFL.
Q: When you switched positions, were there guys that you admired or patterned?
A: At the safety position, Bob Sanders and Sean Taylor.
Q: [Inaudible 5:40]…in practice a lot to help your tackle skills?
A: We didn't hit too much, we just thud. I missed one tackle on him one time, he hit a spin move on me and I was lost in there. Other than that, I haven't missed a tackle on him since then.
Q: How different do you feel on the field as opposed to last year?
A: It feels tremendously different. I'm confident in every call that I make. I'm confident in every position I'm in. I know how to just read; I know the concepts; I know where my help is at and I just play ball from there. The confidence level is through the roof than what it was last year.
Q: Some people say the game slows down when you go into your second season.
A: Yes, definitely. Very slowed down. Everything just comes to you now.
Q: Are you in touch with Eddie Lacy at all?
A: Yes, of course. We go through Instagram, we text message, we see each other in New Orleans and Alabama. We always see each other and stay in contact. We took a picture at the game in Green Bay.
Q: What is his impression of what you've been doing this season?
A: He calls me Sonny, so he said, "Sonny, just keep ballin and doin' your thing. I'm proud of you." And that's about it.
Q: Why Sonny?
A: You know the movie Friday? He says I look like him.
QB Eli Manning
Q: What do you have to do on a windy day like today? How does it impact the way you play?
A: It can be tough. The first half, I thought it wasn't too bad. We kind of got gusts at times there in the second half. Especially in the fourth quarter, it got pretty constant with the wind. It was just one of those days that it was going to be tough to get the ball down the field.
Your throws, you wanted to have a little zip on it and it's tough to throw deep stuff and long out-breaking routes, so I thought we did a good job keeping things over the middle more, trying clean shots. You know when you start throwing over people and put a touch on it, that's when the wind can really affect it, so we didn't have too many of those throws.
Q: During that scramble that you had when you hit Victor for 48, was there a head nod? Was there a signal? How does he know to go when you're scrambling?
A: We kind of talk about scramble drills and everybody has their assignment. He did a good job just peeling underneath him and taking it up. That's Victor. He's been in those situations before, we've done that. Big time play right there; big time scramble, getting down there and leading up to the touchdown that took the lead right there.
Q: Two more huge fourth-down conversions today, how much more confident do you guys feel now, going for it on these plays?
A: Fourth-down, we kind of knew going into this game- even McAdoo, before the game, told me, 'Expect that if we get into around the 30-yard line or so that we'll be going for it on fourth down some because it's going to be tough possibly kicking field goals with the wind.' We kind of had that mindset that if we can get into fourth and manageable situations, we might go for it on a few of them. Obviously the first one was huge, hitting Sterling Shepard on a crossing route which led to a touchdown. The next one we just got a field goal off of but whatever the situation, guys don't get nervous, they get excited about the opportunity to continue the drive.
Q: You're on a three-game home streak, it's unusual to have a three-game home stint. What does that mean for this team going forward?
A: We knew we had to take advantage of that opportunity. Having three home games is rare and obviously if you can win all three of them, that's big. We did what we had to do and took care of it. Now we've got two road games and we have to continue to handle business. I'm just proud of the way the guys are finding ways to win. Every game has been a little different; they've all been close, they've all come down to the last series. Offense, defense, everybody's stepping up and doing their part to get wins.
Q: What do you think sparked when you first came out firing in the second half? What changed?
A: I think we played well the first half also. We only had three possessions. We had a touchdown, had a field goal, and had one punt. We didn't have a whole lot of opportunities. We had long drives. I thought we were moving the ball well and we just continued that through the third quarter. We had two good drives. Guys just making plays, tough third-down conversions, just getting enough yards; had to run for one, had to scramble, hit Roger Lewis on a crossing route.
Everybody's stepping up. Ran the ball on a third and short. Just getting into third and manageable situations and we did a good job converting on third downs. Once we get into the green zone, we've done a good job these last few weeks. Scoring touchdowns in the green zone, that's been big.
Q: You've won five straight. You're 7-3. How would you describe the position you've put yourselves in?
A: 7-3, we'll take it. The NFC East is tough. Obviously we know we're behind Dallas still and Washington and Philly are playing good football and have a lot of wins. We can't get comfortable. We've got to keep getting better so there's still lots of room for improvement.
We've got to score more points offensively but no turnovers today, so that's a positive. It wasn't the most ideal conditions to have a big day offensively, but we ran the ball over 100 yards, threw the ball efficiently enough, and had a nice game plan. Guys played smart and played good football.
Q: On your next-to-last possession, you hit the third man on the rollout. Did you have run-option or what were you trying to do?
A: I just had a rollout, maybe try to hit the back in the flat. Their defensive end got pretty good pressure and I didn't have a whole lot clean. It's a tough situation right there. You can always kind of run if nothing is clean, run, and maybe if you lose a yard or two, it'll keep the clock running. I didn't want to lose 10 yards right there on a sack. I thought I had room to hit Rashad. I guess the ball went a little high and got tipped up a little bit. I was just trying to get a completion where we don't stop the clock and let it run. Kind of a tough situation right there.
Q: You mentioned no turnovers as a team. How much does that mean to you guys?
A: That's what we need to do. The last few weeks we've kind of been good. We've had a couple, especially in the fourth quarter and late in the game. Philadelphia, kind of strange interceptions. One on a tipped ball, another the ball got stolen from the receiver. Last week we had one down the field taking a shot deep. We wanted to play smart. Don't give them a chance to have any. I thought we did a good job playing smarter today and playing a clean game.
Q: How much has Sterling Shepard developed into a consistent weapon for you guys now that he has three-straight games with a touchdown.
A: Sterling is playing well. He's just getting better on some routes and adding more to his arsenal of routes that he's winning. He had a nice third down conversion on a crossing route. Obviously the touchdown. He had a double move and I think killed the guy. I think the guy was still running the shallow route thinking that's what he's running. He's done a good job just understanding the offense, understanding the timing of certain routes, how to set up things. We've got to keep going with that.
Q: How is Will Tye contributing to your offense?
A: Will has done a good job. He obviously had the touchdown catch, his out-breaking route versus man coverage and the guy was all over him on the outside but he did a good job of fighting through that and making the catch, breaking the tackle and getting in. A couple other nice catches, so we've got to find ways to keep getting him the ball because he is a strong weapon for us.
Q: Does Rashad Jennings look quicker to you after coming back from the thumb injury?
A: No. He's running well. I don't know if he looks quicker but he's running well, running hard and seeing the holes and making some nice runs. DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Q: Can you take us through the strip sack?
A: Just making a play. It wasn't anything special. I just beat him. I rushed the edge and that was basically it. It wasn't anything special.
Q: As a pass rusher, what is it like having Olivier Verson on the other side?
A: It is great. Anytime you can have an end that you know is going to contribute and you don't have to worry about him not setting the edge or giving up his gap, not playing the run, it is great. He is a good teammate, a good player, a humble guy; he doesn't do a ton of talking. Me and him together is a dominating duo.
Q: This is the second straight fourth quarter where you guys have been all over the field.
A: Yeah. The offense keeps us in there. They score points and we want to make sure that we hold it down and that is what we did. We never panicked at all. We knew what we had to get done and all week, Coach Spags preached it, Coach McAdoo preached it, all the coaches really preached it. As a unit, we have a couple things to clean up and we are going to take care of those things.
Q: Do you like being on the field with the game on the line?
A: It doesn't matter. Offense or defense, we have faith in both, even special teams.
Q: What was the mindset when they got down there at the end?
A: They can't score. Buckle down. I even told some guys that it is time to blow up, it is on us and guys responded. I responded myself. I can't just do the talking, I have to show up and we came out with a win, guys.
Q: What does it say about your pass rush that you are able to come through late when the other team is trying to throw the ball and take the lead?
A: It just says that we can get the job done. That is what we did. As a unit, no matter who is in there, the big guys or the four D-ends, we are going to get the job done. We just have to find a way to get the job done, play the run better and that is basically it. RB Rashad Jennings
Q: How did things flip in the second half? The offense kind of got going again.
A: I think that we were able to play in front of the chains. I think that in the first half we got caught up in having some second and long plays, and like I have said before, if you stay ahead of the sticks, eliminate the negative plays, then you put yourself in a good position when it is second and six, second and seven, second and three, so I think in the second half we were able to get to that a little bit more. We stalled out a couple times and went three and out when it was crucial, but our defense was able to adjust and bail us out.
Q: What does it say about your offensive line that you were able to be so patient running the ball?
A: Listen, they are playing together. When you are able to say no penetration, I feel like – I think anyone can say that across the league. If you don't have penetration, then it is really your job to find out how to get some ugly yards and our offensive line kept going, kept dropping their feet and we were able to make a couple big runs. That is a testament to them. They were working at it every day all week and we have had some new faces up front, but that hasn't slowed those guys down at all.
Q: You guys have won five games in a row. Does that have a nice ring to it?
A: Yes, it does. Like I said before, man, it feels good to win. You are going to see me smile, but it is short lived because every single week you have a team that is trying to beat you, so we are going to look at the tape, find out where the hidden yardage is at and we can continue to grow and finish with the ball in our hand. We weren't able to do that like we wanted to and that is something that we are going to have to do down the stretch.
Q: How rewarding is it to be able finish games at the end?
A: It is rewarding because everybody puts in so much more, top to bottom, every single coach. We trust each other throughout the whole entire week, we keep on throwing effort at every problem that comes across the board, and it feels good to see some Ws coming up because of that.
Q: You got the ball a lot today. You like to work, don't you?
A: I love to work. I am built to work. But more importantly, we got a win and however I can contribute, whether it is blocking the blindside, protecting E (Eli) or catching out of the backfield, I am built for that, so we just have to keep focusing and keep on growing as a team and find ways to close the game with the ball in our hands like we want to. WR Victor Cruz
Q: Odell had a pretty quiet game. Were they doing anything different with him?
A: I'm not sure. Obviously there were some coverages that were more his way. I think it's just how the game unfolded. Early on we got the running game going a little bit. We were feeding off that. Just gauging to see how the defense was playing us. I don't think it was anything crazy that they did. We were just taking what was in front of us and moving the ball down the field.
Q: Do you expect more teams challenging you and Sterling Shepard to beat them?
A: We're up for the challenge. This is why we're here and why we play. We understand that there's going to be games where Odell is going to be seeing a lot of coverage and attention. Shep and I and the entire receiving corps, we're ready to step up and make plays. When the time comes, we have to be ready.
Q: First five-game regular season winning streak in a few years?
A: We'll take it. We'll take it as it comes. We're continuing to rally these victories and continuing to build on them. With every victory, with every week, we're getting stronger as a team. That's what you want to see. That's how you want to continue to progress as the meat of the season comes. As it starts to get cold, that's when the real football starts to kick in.
Q: You seem to always make a big play in the second half that moves momentum. Is there something to that?
A: I think it just seems to be happening. I think just being in a timely place at a timely manner for Eli to get me the ball. Whether it's a scramble or a straight downfield play, I think I've just been able to find the ball and open space for Eli to be able to connect with me.
Q: Is that the rule on the scramble drill? He takes off to you and you take off down the field?
A: That's typically the rule on the scramble drill. When he comes to your side if you're short, you go long and if you're long, you go short. I was kind of intermediate short and decided to go long. He hit me.
Q: What's the key to this team being able to close out games this year?
A: I think it's consistency. Understanding that in order for us to close out these games and these victories, we have to be consistent with what we do in the first quarter and continue doing it in the fourth quarter. Continue to have that same drive and get those first downs. Move the ball and take time off the clock when we need to. I think that's going to be the key to continue to get us over those humps.
Q: What do you see in this team in terms of vibe? Do you see some championship vibes?
A: Obviously, I do believe that we have a championship-type atmosphere in this locker room. Defensively, you can see it. Those guys are playing lights out. Offensively, we just want to continue to do what we're doing. I think we have the tools to get to that game. We just have to take it one game at a time and continue to stack these W's. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: What was it like to get another win out there? Three straight at home.
A: It's great. That's what we play for, to win.
Q: Did they do anything specific or different with you?
A: No, nothing different. Defense played lights out today. They were the big part of the game.
Q: Did you like the way the offense responded in the second half?
A: Absolutely. I love the way the team responded in the second half. We came out, were on fire and we got the win.
Q: What can you say about another Landon Collins interception?
A: He went to Alabama.
Q: What does five straight wins say about this ball club?
A: We're moving in the right direction.
Q: Are you frustrated at not getting a little more involved today?
A: No, I'm happy we won.
Q: Why do you think you didn't have your usual amount of touches?
A: I don't know. You have to ask someone else. I'm not their coordinator. I don't do their game plan.
Q: What is it like to see this ball club win some close games after going through some difficult times in recent years down the stretch?
A: It's been tough. I think that's been the biggest thing. These games last year, we were losing. We're coming out, finding ways to get the win and that's it.
Q: Did it look like they were forcing other guys to get the ball?
A: I don't know. That's like the third question you asked. It's kind of the same thing. I don't really know the answer. I'm just going to keep telling you the same thing.
Q: Do you start looking ahead at all at the Cowboys coming in December?
A: Not at all. You can't look ahead in this league. We have Cleveland next week. I don't care what their record is. It's a must win. Every game you have to win. You can't overlook anyone. This is the NFL.
Q: Do you start thinking about coming down the stretch?
A: No. We think about Cleveland and after Cleveland we will think about whoever we play after that. DE Olivier Vernon
Q: When they got down there to the 30-yard line at the end, what was the thought process?
A: Don't let them score. Don't let them score. Hold it down and everything will take care of itself.
Q: As a pass rusher, what is it like having JPP on the other side?
A: Man, it helps a whole lot. It helps a whole lot knowing that that side is going to be shut down. You can make a lot more things happen as far as rotation of guys that we have on our defensive line. He is a monster.
Q: This was one of his better games in a long time. Can you appreciate that from your standpoint?
A: Yeah, JPP is JPP, man. Ain't nothing changed about him. He is still a beast out there.
Q: Do you feel like your team identity is that if the defense is on the field at the end of the game, then you are going to win the game?
A: We have a lot of confidence in everybody on the squad. For right now, I would say that our identity is unknown right now. We still have to go week in and week out and notch these wins.
Q: When you are on the field at the end, given the way this season has gone, is there an added element of, 'We are going to get it done.'
A: Being consistent is the biggest thing that we have tried to work on during the whole off eason and coming to training camp and leading up to this point right now. Consistency is the key. As long as we stay consistent, we are going to be alright.
Q: How did you guys turn it up in the second half after a slow start in the first half?
A: Nobody wants to start slow and our halftime adjustments – coaches made some good halftime adjustments and that was it. All we had to do was stick to our game plan. They weren't doing anything different that we had never seen on film. That was just on us and we have to start faster.