Giants head coach and players react following the team's Sunday Night Football matchup vs. the Dallas Cowboys:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Tough, gritty, hard-nosed win. Encouraging out there in December in the elements. Can't say enough about the defense and the effort they played with. Special teams and field position was excellent, pinning them down deep. The offense hung in there, kept pounding, had a bunch of rush attempts, which was encouraging, and found a way to outscore them in the second half.
Q: What is it about the sight of Dallas that inspires the Giants so much?
A: Again, it was just a tough, hard-nosed win in December, in the elements. Ball was tough to handle today for both teams, just encouraging.
Q: What does it say about your team that you can win a game like this?
A: This is how you need to win them in December. It's not going to always be pretty, it's going to be in the elements. You stick together, stick with each other and keep believing.
Q: At some point, did you realize it was going to be a one touchdown game?
A: No, I mean you just keep trying to hammer away this time of the year. You want to keep stacking runs on top of runs, keep pounding the rock. I thought we had a chance to have couple out, one that was called back, want to take a look at the tape and see what happened there with the holding call. Again, you play good defense, special teams was solid, giving us field position, and offense kept running the ball. We've got to throw it a little bit better than we did tonight.
Q: What did you think about how Janoris Jenkins played?
A: Janoris, he was all over the field. That was a great play at the end of the ball game, getting his hand on the ball, having that thing come out. But he was all over the field tonight, like a lot of guys on defense.
Q: What can you say about how Romeo Okwara did?
A: He was obviously inspired. Played at a high level, played with a great motor; encouraging to see.
Q: How have you guys found success in two games against Dak Prescott, when so many other teams haven't found that success?
A: Again, you come in, you have a game plan each and every week, you go through the game plan and you put it to the test, the players execute it. Coach Spagnuolo put a great plan together, the players executed the plan, didn't blink, didn't hesitate. There were a couple runs there that they had come out but again, we didn't blink, we didn't flinch, we just kept playing our game.
Q: You have two wins over Dallas, what do you think that says to the rest of the league?
A: I'm not sure what it's saying to the rest of the league, it's about the men in our locker room.
Q: Did you have a communications issue in the second half and how did that affect things?
A: Yeah, there were a couple of times where we were having a hard time getting the call into the quarterback but we adjusted.
Q: On the final offensive drive, was there any thought to go for on the 4th-and-3?
A: We were talking about a couple of different things there.
Q: How did you think Eli Manning played tonight?
A: We'll have to go back and take a look at the tape.
Q: What does two wins over Dallas say to the guys in the locker room?
A: I just think when you take a look at the game tonight, I thought we came out, we had a good plan; defense and special teams executed at a high level. Offense, we stuck with the run, had a chance to accumulate some runs and it's encouraging to get out of here with a win.
Q: Big picture, how important was this win?
A: I think this was probably our best week of preparation since I've been here. I think we put the pads on, on Thursday, for about 60 percent of the practice, a little bit more than half; it was a very physical practice, we got our pads underneath us. I think that played a big role in the outcome tonight.
Q: You knew during the week that the team was ready more than most weeks?
A: I told them last night I felt it was our best week of preparation.
Q: Offensively, overall, how do you think it went?
A: I like the rush attempts and we need to keep pounding the ball, we need to keep stacking the rush attempts. We had some opportunities to execute better. Had some opportunities to call the game a little bit better and we'll look at it, we'll learn from it and we'll get better from here.
Q: So you feel that this was a step forward tonight for the offense?
A: Yes. In the elements, it was a slushy field, slick ball - the ball was hard, the ball was cold - we need to handle it a little bit better than we did obviously. To be able to stack the rush attempts on top of each other and find a way to win the game, 10-0, in the second-half was encouraging.
Q: On special teams.
A: Special teams was big for us tonight. We pinned them down a couple different times. There were some thoughts, some discussions on going for it on fourth down, but (Brad) Wing was really nailing it and they protected him and covered well.
Q: What did you see different from Ereck Flowers in the first half versus the second half?
A: We just settled down, got our fundamentals back and stayed the course.
Q: Did you talk to Flowers at half time? He had a rough first half.
A: The first half is the first half, no one needs to blink, nobody needs to flinch, we need to play the full game. We talked about this thing coming down to the fourth quarter like we knew it would and it did.
Q: How did Kennard do?
A: I thought DK was flying around, making plays. Had a nice batted ball in the last drive, it was encouraging to see.
Q: How much did you notice what happened around the league today in the other games?
A: I don't pay attention.
Q: Do you think your guys do?
A: You'd have to ask them.
Q: What happened with the footballs against Pittsburgh?
A: I don't really know anything about it. I just know that they said that they felt a little… I don't know, the PSI's were a little low, so they checked them, and they just let me know they checked them.
Q: At any point in the game, did you go and check it out?
A: I left my pump at home.
Q: Someone obviously went and checked them.
A: No, I don't check them. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
I'll talk about us winning and the defense holding the game down. Clearly one of the best teams in the league. They have two young guys up there doing their thing. One of the best receivers in the league and they found a way to hold them to seven points. That's really the story.
Q: Your TD was the only Giants touchdown of the night?
A: I just caught a slant. Tried to hit a gear. I looked back, well actually, I didn't have to look back I could just hear someone running. I was running as fast as ever. I felt someone chasing me. I had to hit another gear.
My hamstrings got a little tight, but it was a real race. I really had to run. I just got the opportunity I missed early in the game. Haven't really had the chance to be on the JUGS as much as I am used to with the thumb. I don't care about that anymore. Whatever it is, tomorrow, I'll be in there on the JUGS machine. Just way too many drops and way too many plays I missed out on.
Q: Did you know you had that gear?
A: I knew it was in there but I didn't know how to hit it until, they just call it flight or fight, I think. It's just instinct. He made me dig. I love competing against him. He's excellent. It's very hard to beat him. He's a bigger, stronger corner. I have a lot of respect for him. We found a way to get the W tonight.
Q: What about the fact that the Cowboys have lost two games this year and you have won both of them?
A: I don't know if that's something to say about us or something to say about them. We found a way to get the win tonight.
Q: Do you think that a team can have another team's number?
A: I don't know what it is. To me, personally, watching when you're not on the field and just seeing what that defense does, it makes all the difference in the world. A quote I've heard for the longest time is offense wins games, but defense wins championships. This is a championship defense. Disregarding the other components of this team, whether it is special teams or offense, this defense is a championship defense.
They come through pretty much every single game. We just have to find ways to be more explosive. That's the bottom line. We have to find ways to get stuff done and execute the calls. Find ways to be more creative and get everyone involved. If we're winning 10-7, we're still winning. That's really the most important thing
Q: Can this game be like a spring board to doing really good things in January?
A: I don't know. I think that would've been the goal all along. It definitely helps us and puts us in a better position. You have to find a way. Now we're focused on Detroit. A very good team in my mind. They have a bunch of guys, a bunch of playmakers. Stafford at quarterback, they're going to be a good challenge, a good team for us. We just have to put our best foot forward.
Q: Could you see the defender gaining on you on the score?
A: Absolutely. You could feel it. You could feel it. I don't know if it was a sixth sense or whatever but you could feel it on your neck and back. I just found a way to turn it on. Shout out to my mom, thank you for the hamstrings. I think I got it from her a little bit. No disrespect, pops, but she might beat you in a race.
Q: How was this game for you?
A: It was special. I wish us as an offense, the two or three chances we had, would close the game out. Even if you don't close it and it's 17-7 or even if we get a field goal, it would take more time off the clock. Just finding ways for us to not have to put anyone else back on the field. That's the hardest part. It's frustrating. I don't even want our defense to come back out. I want the defense to be sitting there eating candy, untying their shoes knowing that the offense has this game in control. Just knowing that they don't even have to go back on the field. It's something that we're working on and it's something that's a process. It'll come together at the right time, I truly believe that.
Q: Things haven't clicked yet, but you're 9-4. That's a silver lining?
A: Yes. Hats off to the defense. They've been finding ways to put us in the best positions even if we're not doing the most. Truly, what an amazing atmosphere and opportunity to play in a game like this. It felt like LSU, Alabama. It was great.
Q: What was this week's preparation like?
A: It was an intense week; I cannot lie to you. What happens in our locker room and on the practice field stays over there. I'm just going to let you know it was a very intense week. We were on each other heavy. Just making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing when they were doing it. I think the coaches came out and were very well prepared. I think the biggest thing for me was just finding ways for us to end the game.
Q: When you scored the touchdown, did you look at it as a make up for the previous drops?
A: Absolutely. I told myself, 'you need to wake up. I don't know what's going on with you but you need to wake up. You're on auto pilot or whatever the case may be. You're not out here affecting this game or doing anything.' That bothers me. It eats me up.
I feel like I work too hard. We're up all day, meetings and everything for these 60 minutes on Sunday. It just kills me to be able to come out here and not do what you're supposed to be doing. I just had to talk to myself and the man above. I said, 'wake me up. It's time to wake up.' Sure enough, we came to life.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Coach said that it was a good week of practice that you guys had. What is it about Dallas that gets your game up as well as your teammates?
A: It's Dallas. It's in the division. They're playing great football. They've got 11 wins already. You know them well; you know what they're going to do. A lot of times they do a good job disguising it but you know what you're going to get. We could have played better, obviously, but the second half we had a couple good drives and outscored them 10-0 in the second half that's what we needed to win.
Our defense played outstanding all day; stopping the run and getting some pressure on Dak and it was just one of those days. It was tough; the field was wet, we were getting some wet balls, a couple balls where there was just enough wetness that it was coming out of your hands funny. It was one of those days where you had to run it a bunch and be patient and hopeful we had a couple good plays.
Q: On the fumble that you had in the first half; was it a wet ball that just slipped out of your hands?
A: Yea, it just slipped out of my hand, just slipped. I did a move, thought I was going to have a shot to hit Roger (Lewis) on a big play down the sideline but it just slipped right out of my hand. It was one of those deals where as you got drives going, the longer the drive, the more wet the ball got. It stayed in there and wasn't getting substituted in and out.
Q: What does it say about you guys that you won this game tonight and beat Dallas twice this season?
A: They're a good team, we know that, but I'm just proud of the guys and proud of the way we fought. Again, they stayed with it. Defense kept us in the game, obviously. Kept getting turnovers, kept getting stops. Offensively we stayed patient. We had some mistakes; a couple turnovers that hurt us but we hung in there and kept fighting until the very end.
Q: What does it say about a guy like Odell who can have a few key drops and then one big play to turn it around?
A: He's a special player. You hit him in stride and good things happen, so we've got to find ways to hit him on the move, hit him on the run. Early on, Dallas' defense was doing a good job getting some pressure on and taking us out of rhythm and not being able to get the ball down the field very much.
Q: As a team leader and a team captain, how do you prevent your guys from not getting too satisfied with this win and making sure they come out with as much fight as they did tonight next week?
A: That shouldn't be a problem. We've still got a long journey ahead. We're still fighting for a playoff spot, fighting for the division. We've got some tough games ahead of us and obviously the next one is Detroit. They're playing good football. They've got nine wins as well, I'm pretty sure, so they're fighting for a playoff spot, so we've got to make sure we handle our business and keep preparing and find ways to play better.
Q: Odell had a rough evening; two drops and a muffed punt. Did you have to go say something to him?
A: No, I didn't say anything to him. I know he's going to make plays for us and he's going to do a lot of good things. Again, I knew the conditions were tough. I was getting some wet balls and I'm sure they're trying to catch the wet balls. That happens on these types of nights. He's running the right routes and giving us opportunities. I knew eventually he'd make a big one.
Q: You were looking forward to seeing Shane Vereen come back but he ended up being back out again. How much did you have to adjust without him being in the game plan?
A: Not too much. Our backs have done a good job. We had some third-down stuff we had them in or a two-minute and had them in there. Bobby Rainey and the other backs; they know what they're doing and we didn't have to adjust too much.
Q: How do you think you played tonight?
A: Obviously we've got to fix the turnovers. The ball slipping out of my hand, I had the fumble and the sack, the interception; the guy jumped the curl, so we've got to clean up those plays. We can't afford to turn the ball over, especially some of those when we're down that prevented us from scoring some points.
Q: After missing the playoffs the last four years, how big of a win is this?
A: It's a big win but just because it's the next one. We've still got a lot of football left. We're not satisfied and we know we've got to play better but it was a big win. After a tough loss last week and getting another win in the division, it was a good one but we've got to keep fighting.
Q: What does it say about you guys that you have the only two wins this season against the Cowboys?
A: It just says we've got the only two wins versus the Cowboys. I don't think we can look too much into it. They're a good team, we're a good team. We're doing some good stuff but we've got to keep doing it. We've got to keep finding ways to win football games.
Q: Coach said there were issues with the communication you receive in the helmet. How did that affect you?
A: We had two series when they went out; one pretty long one. Just tried to get to the sideline and figure out what he wanted. Odell was running a few and was running down there so we made it work and it didn't cause any issues.
Q: You only had one pick but there were a bunch of near-interceptions. Were you fortunate getting away without any more?
A: Yea, always.
Q: When your defense is shutting an offense down like your guys did, how much does that frustrate the other team?
A: Their defense did a good job against us also. Our defense played outstanding. They did a great job getting turnovers, stopping the run, holding them to seven points. They played outstanding and that was a big time performance. I'm glad they could step up like that.
Q: Two wins over Dallas, what does that tell the NFC that you guys are serious contenders?
A: I don't think of it that way. We had to win, it was the next game. We're trying to fight for the playoffs and hey, we've got to get ready for Detroit next week.
Q: You guys had business to take care of here today, but when you guys play a night game, do you watch other teams playing for the wild card; Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Minnesota all getting wins, does that serve as any extra motivation for you guys?
A: No. For us, we've got to handle our business and it's about us. We can't get caught up in what other teams are doing. If they all lost, it wouldn't make this game any different or relaxed or not as important. All of these next games are going to be important and we've got to find ways to pull out victories.
Q: Do you think the offense made progress today?
A: They did some good stuff but we're not scoring enough points. It wasn't ideal out there but we've got protect the ball better than we did tonight.
Q: Did you talk to Ereck Flowers at all when he was struggling?
A: No. All of those guys are competing. They know what they're doing. Sometimes they get a good jump, get a good rush but that's part of football. S Landon Collins
We are just playing ball right now. That is it.
Q: Was today the first time you have seen JPP since his surgery?
A: Yes. Today was the first time. We saw him last night on the interview.
Q: In the hotel?
A: Yeah, but he didn't come to the hotel. He did a video and then today was the first time seeing him in person.
Q: So he sent a video?
A: Yeah, he sent a video and they put it on the big screen.
Q: What was his message there?
A: Just basically saying that we have an opportunity to be great and be a dog.
Q: Be a dog?
A: Like play hard.
Q: What does it say about you guys that you are the only team that has beaten Dallas twice?
A: That we are a team to reckon with. Even though we lost four games, those games were close and at the end of the day, we are always going to showcase our ability and finish the game all the way out.
Q: You guys wanted to make them play from behind. Do you think you showed them something by doing that? Dak seemed to have some troubles.
A: No, when you put pressure on the quarterback, that is what happens. He is a great player and knows what he is doing and when you have a tough defense that is in front of you, then you have to pick and choose where you go with the ball. CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: How much confidence did you guys have as a defense that you could answer this call and put your team in a position to win?
A: We just knew we had to come out and play great defense. We knew we had to play defense for four quarters and we knew we had to stay together no matter what happened throughout the game. We did that.
Q: Dez had one catch and you forced a fumble on it. Can you talk about the job you guys did on him?
A: We did a great job. We know Dez is a great receiver. Everybody knows that. The defense did their job as a whole. Everyone just came out and made plays.
Q: That's only two catches in two games against you guys. Do you have his number?
A: We were just playing within the scheme. Just keeping it within the scheme and playing as a defense. Moving to the ball and trying to eliminate the playmakers.
Q: After last weeks' loss, did you take it upon yourself to say 'I'm making a difference in a win this week'?
A: No. I'm going to come out and play the same way week in and week out. I'm the type of guy that just plays football and let my team feed off of me. That's my mindset every Sunday.
Q: It seemed that you did what you had to do to create that fumble?
A: Well, he ran a slant. I knew it was coming. I waited till he took a few steps and swiped at the ball physically. It popped out and we got a turnover.
Q: Did you think you had to prove tonight with a win that you guys are for real?
A: We're not trying to prove anything. I just feel like it was something that we couldn't let them come in and get a win. It was big for them. It was crucial for us to come out with a W. We just came out and did our job.
Q: Is that a championship performance from a defense?
A: I've been saying it since the beginning of the year. We can be as special as we want to be. We just have to buy in and continue to buy in.
Q: Do you think tonight's win showed people that the winning because of the strength of schedule is not the case?
A: It was big. A lot of talk out there but at the end of the day, each and every week, we focus on one game at a time. We played Dallas tonight, came out and did what we needed to do.
Q: Any frustration from Dez on the field?
A: There wasn't any frustration. It was just playing football. No smack talking or anything. Respect is respect.
Q: Are you impressed with what Romeo Okwara did filling in for JPP?
A: Of course. We knew it was going to be huge. Whoever was going to fill the role of JPP was going to have to step up and make plays. He did what he had to do.
Q: What was it like battling with Dez all night?
A: It was fun. Both of us competing and trying to make plays. Just playing football.
Q: Are you starting to see the defense and the potential that you saw at the beginning of the season?
A: Yes. We can be as special as we want to be.
Q: How would you describe the defense's game?
A: We played phenomenal. We all stepped up. DB's, linebackers, defensive line, we all played together. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. We have to come out and do it next game.
DT Damon Harrison
Q: You've been in the league for a while now and know the rivalries. What is it like now that you have both Dallas games. What's the rivalry feel like for you?
A: It's great. Being for Louisiana, about 90 percent of my immediate family are Cowboys fans. It's just been great getting both games but we know we have something greater than just playing these two games against the Cowboys. But it doesn't hurt to win a rivalry game like this. Re: facing the Dallas rushing attack
A: When you have a group like that, and there's no discredit to anybody on the offensive line because those guys can really play, they're a heck of an offensive line from tackle to tackle. When you have a group like that, an offensive coordinator who's the head coach of the team. they put a lot on those guys to get the running game going.
They did to an excellent job tonight. And that's why I come in. I'm a big run stopper, not much of a pass rusher, but Ezekiel Elliott, great running back. He's a young guy, and has been running the ball with some confidence, and you can tell the difference between the first game of the year and the game now.
Q: With JPP out, the rookie Romeo Okwara comes in and steps up. Can you talk about his game tonight?
A: He played big. There's some stuff we have to clean up, not only him, everybody along the line. He got his first sack. I was happy for him. He got in there a couple times on some big plays. We have faith in him, that's why coach started him. You know if it wasn't for that he wouldn't be out there. We knew what he was capable of, it was just a matter of him going out there and showing it.
Q: You pitched a shutout in the second half. How do you compare your defensive in the first half of the season vs. now?
A: We're still not nowhere near where we need to be, to be honest with you. The communication has gotten a whole lot better. We're still feeling each other out. It's getting better week by week. At the beginning of the year, it was just a "let's go into this game and see and talk it out during the game." You can talk it out during practice but until you get in the game, it's not real. As the weeks gone on, guys have been getting really comfortable with each other. But we're still not where we need to be and it's a good sign that we will.
Q: What adjustments did you make at halftime?
A: Nothing. Guys just said that we were going to hunker down and just try our best not to get him [Elliott] over a 100 yards. He was able to do that. That's a credit to him and the offensive line - those guys came out and performed. But guys just went into the second half with a totally different mindset than the first. We knew what we didn't want to do. It was just a matter of settling down.
Q: How satisfying is it as a defense to shut down an offense like that time and time again?
A: Well it's great because they have beaten everybody that they play and it's a high-powered offense with a great rookie quarterback and a great rookie running back. For us to come out and hold them to 7 points, I have to tip my cap to Coach Spags.
Q: How were the field conditions? Was it tough footing wise?
A: No, actually it wasn't bad at all. The field was a little slushy but they did their best to keep the field manageable. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. DE Olivier Vernon
Q: How would you describe that defensive performance tonight?
A: We played a good football team, we just have to keep it rolling. We have to put this one behind us and move on to the next one. We have a good team coming in next week and we just have to play ball.
Q: Dallas lost two games, both to you guys. What does that mean to you?
A: They are one of our division rivals, so we know we are going to see them again.
Q: Can you talk about the young guys, Romeo Okwara and Kerry Wynn, and the day they had?
A: We had confidence in them all week. We had confidence in them all week to go out there and be able to perform. Those guys have been ready. All of the young guys have always been ready throughout the week preparation-wise and it showed out there today.
Q: Did you have to coach them up at all during the game?
A: They were doing their own thing. They were sound and they made plays.
Q: Do you expect to see this team in the playoffs?
A: We have to take one team at a time, one week at a time, but that is what it is shaping up to be.
Q: The back end gave you guys the time to get to the quarterback. What can you say about the job they did?
A: They have been doing a phenomenal job. They have been doing a phenomenal job all year. It is a work in progress. We just have to keep chipping at the rock and keep working.
Q: What adjustments did you make on Ezekiel Elliott?
A: They had 100 yards on us. That is sloppy on my behalf. That is something that we take pride in and we didn't get the job done when it came to that, so we have to tighten up and look forward to Detroit. We can't let that happen and we did, so we just have to keep working at it.
Q: Before the season started, you said that this defense could be as good as it wants to be. Did we see how good this defense can be?
A: We have to keep working, man. All hands on deck. DE Romeo Okwara
Q: How did you feel out there?
A: A little bit of nerves, but I think they were good nerves. I was calm right before the game and that is the way I am.
Q: What does it mean to beat the Cowboys?
A: Yeah, it was a really important game for us. It was a divisional game and hopefully we will get them in the future. Everyone played really well, we played great as a defense and it was a great team win.
Q: Did JPP have a message for the team?
A: He just said to go out there and ball today.
Q: Why do you think you guys were so effective?
A: We practiced really, really well all throughout the week and we just went out there and played like a team.
Q: Do you sit and think about how far you have come?
A: A little bit, yeah. But I am just excited to be where I am and it is just a great feeling.
Q: Can you talk about how your secondary played?
A: They were lights out. All those guys back there did a really good job of giving us time to rush the quarterback. Sometimes those secondary sacks are because they make the quarterback hold the ball. LB Devon Kennard
Q: How do you guys think you did in filling in for JPP?
A: He is a playmaker, so it takes one extra play Landon (Collins) needs to make in the game, one extra play that JC (Jonathan Casillas) needs to make in the game. It is not just the guy who is playing his exact position, but everyone in their own role needs to maybe make one extra play, do something a little extra to account for such a dynamic player that JPP is.
Q: When did you watch that video of JPP?
Q: What was the team's reaction?
A: It was the mentality that everybody was already taking. It was like, 'Let's go, let's get this one for him. We know he wants to be out there, so let's get him this win.'
Q: If I told you before the season that in two games, Dez would only have two catches and fumble one of them, what would you say?
A: I would say that we were doing a hell of a good job on defense. LB Jonathan Casillas
Q: What do you think this can mean going forward here?
A: Well, I think that everything is in front of us. I think that we can be as good as we want to be. As long as we keep our head down and keep grinding away – it is still a long season. We have some games left and I am planning on playing in January. That is the goal right now, to get through December and play in January.
Q: Why did the defense have so much success after the Cowboys had that early touchdown?
A: We are a tough, resilient group. We have great character on that side of the ball. Everywhere from the youngest guy Romeo (Okwara) to a guy like Leon Hall, who has played the most out of everybody, DRC and him and coming up with huge plays. Like I said, resilient group, man. We had to step up to take the presence for 90 (JPP). 90 is one of the best players in the NFL, JPP. We all had to step up.
Q: You talk about making up for the loss of JPP. How about the job that the back end did covering?
A: It works hand in hand. I feel like a lot of those pressures and a lot of those hits on the quarterback were coverage sacks, coverage hits. Great job on the back end. We have a ton of really skilled, really crafty, really smart defensive backs. Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) leading the way, DRC, Landon Collins, Andrew Adams, Leon Hall had a pick today. I love playing with these guys, man.