Tom Coughlin spoke with the media vis a conference call on Sunday and discussed what he liked – and didn’t line – about his team’s performance Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
One of the Giants’ biggest objectives this past offseason was to get bigger and nastier at the line of scrimmage and they made moves to do that. The early result, from what Coughlin outlined below, is not up to his satisfaction.
Sure they were missing some guys, but it looks like the team is still struggling in the trenches. The rushing game sputtered early in the game with the first stringers while the rush defense looked porous early on as well, allowing 81 yards on 17 attempts – an average of 4.8 per carry.
“Right off the bat, we were reached,” Coughlin said of the defense. “They came out running the outside zone play and we did get in a position where we were reached. We didn’t get off the blocks and didn’t get to a point where we could reject the front and the ball carriers were able to slash and make yardage and a couple of times cut the ball back. I think we’ll do a better job once we get a look at this tape and understand our gap responsibilities, but this is going to continue to be an objective for us.”
Yes, there were some good things. The defense did not allow a touchdown. The Eli -to -Cruz connection is alive and well and some young players began to establish themselves, most notably Damontre Moore, Brandon Mosley, Michael Cox and Charles James.
Here is Coughlin’s assessment of the game:
“The interesting thing last night, which occurred, was there were so many situational concepts that appeared in the game and this was a very good experience for our sideline. We had 79 guys there and all different combinations of personnel on special teams, first and second half. We actually played four quarterbacks in the game, as did Pittsburgh.
But the number of things that came up in a game that was relatively penalty free, the unfortunate thing being the turnovers. Obviously I wasn’t really happy about. Especially the idea that their only touchdown came off of a turnover, but the idea of a blocked punt would have been nice if we could have taken it off of the punter’s foot and scored a touchdown there. We had a hard count, no-brainer type of a situation where they were trying to draw people offsides in lieu of the field goal. That was a good situation.
We almost had what we call a ‘cobra’ situation come up. We had a two-minute drive at the end of the half, which was great experience for our guys. There were a number of people that were in the game at that time. Our defense got a safety. We had a kickoff return after a safety. We recovered a muffed punt. We had a four-minute drive at the end of the game that resulted in the opportunity for Josh Brown to step up with a 47-yard field goal, which we could emphasize the pressure of the moment saying that was the deciding factor in the game to go up five rather than two. There were so many things. We had three penalties in the game, which was a good thing; a lot of good things happening on special teams, as I mentioned.
The areas of concern were obviously the offense… our inability to rush the ball with any kind of consistency. And also as other people entered the game throughout the game, just to adjust to Pittsburgh’s blitz package. Just understand what they’re trying to do and understand what we’re trying to do to offset that and be consistent with that conceptual idea. That was kind of an on- again and off-again for us throughout the entire game.
So that and the fact that our first defense had what we call two wins and seven losses against Pittsburgh’s running game and that’s a big objective for us coming in and we’ve got to shore that up and be able to stop the opponent’s run. But it was everything we thought it would be in terms of the physical capability, the physical test that the game provided for us. It was a good first preseason game.”