Giants coach Tom Coughlin spoke to the media via conference call this morning. He is disappointed, but not totally down on his team. Although the playoffs are a long shot, there is one more game to play and a winning season at stake.
Opening statement: “If you’re waiting for me to say something, I don’t have a whole lot to say here. Except for the fact that as I looked at the tape this morning, I will say this: we tried, there was effort, there was no quit. You could see that by end of the game, we had a goal-line stand and we also had a touchdown late. I thought our special teams represented us the way we wanted to be represented. I thought those guys hustled and worked hard. I thought they were productive, I thought we had an opportunity on two occasions for a kickoff return of significance. There was an individual block that wasn’t made that kept it from coming out even further.
I’m not very pleased with eight punts, but it kind of went along with the evening. We didn’t have many snaps and we punted the ball eight times, but we did cover on both kickoff and punts with a very, very good return man and we did a nice job of that, as I mentioned last night. So, not a lot to talk about, other than the fact that our special teams did okay. Our defensive team did not stop the run. They made a lot of very good plays on us. Some of them were just exceptional plays, they weren’t always an error in coverage or someone not getting their job done, but they made a lot of good plays. Quality football players made plays. (Ray) Rice made an outstanding play, his what we call “ram pass” down on a double slant kind of thing where he comes out of the backfield in terms of an angle and we made not enough.
The David Wilson touchdown run was a very, very well-executed, outstanding football play. The play to Domenik Hixon for the score was good, too. But there wasn’t anything in-between there. When we did have some consistency, we did have penalties. The penalties, you be the judge. There were a couple of opportunities for us to do more and we didn’t. We weren’t able to get that done. We’ll just keep hanging in there and working hard and this certainly is adversity. This certainly is a difficult time for us, but we’re going to fight and we’re going to do everything in our power to prepare ourselves for Philadelphia, who played very well against Washington.”
How’s Chris Canty’s knee and what’s the severity of the injury?
He does have a sprain. It’s an MCL sprain. We’ll have to see how he responds.
Was there any health reason why Michael Boley ended up playing less snaps than any of the other linebackers?
It was not necessarily a health thing. It had been a cumulative health thing; he was having some issues for three weeks that we felt was not allowing him to play the way that he’s capable of playing and that’s the reason we went into the game with, again, these different personnel combinations.
How did Ahmad Bradshaw come out of the game physically?
Hopefully there’s no setback.
When you heard the playoff scenario, the multiple things that would have to fall into place, what was your reaction to that?
My reaction is really nothing other than I was focused on our game and I still am. Whatever the scenarios represent, that’s fine. That should give us continued motivation, in terms of what can happen, and stranger things have happened, obviously. I would like to be playing better football than we’re playing right now and it’s going to take that in order to win our last game of the year and even give ourselves that opportunity. I have our focus completely geared on our business and we’ll work as hard as we can to rejuvenate our team, try to put ourselves in position where we can win a game and be 9-7.
Nick Foles reportedly has a broken hand. It’s possible that Michael Vick might be the starter against you guys this week. You’ve seen Vick many times before, but how does this change things for Week 17?
Well, it changes the nature of how you have to prepare. Obviously, for the two quarterbacks, there’s a different scenario for how you prepare. If that’s the case, then we will focus on Michael Vick.
On if there is still a sense of hope to make the playoffs in the Giants locker room:
We spent an entire week with hope. We spent an entire two weeks with hope. We didn’t play well, but it doesn’t mean that we weren’t aware of the circumstance, that we didn’t realize the situation and the hope. Why we’re playing the way we’re playing is something that I’m sure will be my responsibility when the season is over. I’m telling you that your perception of us not playing with hope and mine are not the same. Our weeks have been solid weeks in which people have been positive. Everything that we’ve done has been positive, but when we take the field, it’s been a different story. There are a lot of reasons maybe for that, which I’m not going into. Nevertheless, don’t tell us we haven’t had hope. We’ve had it.
You guys were almost in this exact same situation last year when you needed to win your last two games to make the playoffs. Did you figure out what was different last year versus this year?
No, I haven’t spent any time on that. This is a different team, with different situations and a different year.
Henry Hynoski spoke about the effort on the practice field not translating to games. Have you ever coached a team where there’s been that much disconnect?
Not in my most recent memory. I’m not quite sure of the answer to that question, but not in recent memory.
When you look at your personnel, many of them are the same, whether it’s the downfield plays offensively or the clutch plays, like strip sacks. Have you wondered why all of those have gone at once?
Well, I do know for a fact that we just aren’t making any plays. I haven’t put it in those types of words or whatever, but we went from a team that under normal circumstances were six for eight or even more big plays per game to a team that has maybe one or two. Last night, we didn’t turn the ball over, but we didn’t get any takeaways either. The plays which we try to identify the night before the game, as the plays which spark or ignite, we just haven’t had any. The opponents had them. Like I tried to explain, some of the plays that they made last night were those types of plays. The plays that spark a football team. Balls put in difficult spots for the receivers to catch, and even for the defense to get a piece of. They made catches of that nature last night. They made runs of that nature, they were running a lead draw late in the game that goes for 78 yards. That’s our inability to stop a basic football play. Those things, there are a lot of people playing. Everybody that’s playing, certainly our linebackers have been on the field for a great amount of time last night. You know what? Unfortunately, we didn’t get as much done as we thought we should. We’re not making any plays.
Is that more of an off-season project?
Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure it is. I’m sure it will be an incredible investigation and study.
On your end in terms of evaluating your players?
Oh sure, absolutely. Absolutely it will be. Absolutely.
You played a lot of different linebackers, and a lot of the four-linebacker sets. Did you think going in that it could be a risk to change up so much before the game?
I don’t think it was. It was against one particular personnel combination that Baltimore was using. It was an attempt to have something more to say about the run, which obviously didn’t factor in.
Is it more baffling or disappointing that some of these past Super Bowl champions and veterans for your team have not been stepping up at all?
It’s perplexing, it’s disappointing, it’s frustrating and understand that it is to the players as well. It’s not just the coaches looking at it. It is to the players as well. We’d all like to have multiple answers for these things or singular, something that would turn it in the other direction. Let’s face it, we’re holding out that you can turn this thing right back again. We’re hoping that a game at home is going to allow us to do that. It is disappointing.
It seemed like the passing offense kind of slowed down after that mid-season hump:
It wasn’t bad two weeks ago, now. You don’t get 52 points by not being oiled up in the passing game. The situation last night was: I think we missed some protections. We got the quarterback hit. We certainly did that at an untimely circumstance there, creating what, second and 25, whatever that was, early on. We did make a couple recovery plays, but we couldn’t make enough from that hole. We had some protection issues; we had some coverage, people getting open-issues. We had some issues with the ball not quite exactly where it needed to be. We had penalties downfield after a big play. There’s a lot of reasons why we’re certainly not as good as we should be.
A lot of players were talking about correctable errors early in the season, but did you feel that it was a lot of the same problems throughout the season?
I would say no, but certainly there are some things that have reoccurred. Each game seems to bring a new series of things that have to be mastered.
transcript courtesy Giants communications dept