Transcript of Tom Coughlin’s postgame presser:
“We knew it was fan appreciation day and we also knew it was the alumni game. We talked about the energy and demonstrating a greater purpose because that is what really encourages all the fans to be involved in the game and appreciative of the way we play on the field and therefore we are appreciative of what goes on in the stands.
We are now 2-1 in our six-game season. This was a battle as you can tell. We were plus-two in turnovers. David Wilson broke the all-purpose yardage record with kickoff returns and then he had 100 yards rushing as well. We did a lot of good things today and yet we’ve got more to get done.
We spoke at halftime with a smile on my face about we are capable of playing better than we are playing right now. You saw when we jumped out to get a lead, they came back so quickly. And that’s the type of football team that they are and have been. It was nice to play them here in our stadium and it was nice to be able to win the game.”
Q: You liked the way you finished?
A: We finished. I don’t even know what the numbers are, but when you say ‘finish’ I’m thinking finish the game. We did finish the game well.
Q: I meant scoring touchdowns in the redzone instead of kicking field goals.
A: That’s the idea. Again, I don’t know what the numbers are so I can’t even comment.
Q: Can you talk about David Wilson?
A: Well, he did a great job. Our kickoff return team gave us unbelievable field position. Some of which we didn’t take advantage of. Then JJ Jernigan jumped in there and he made a play as well. So I was really pleased with that. It was good, hard, fast running, but obviously there was some good blocking as well. And we stayed away from the penalties, too, which, God Almighty, is discouraging. Last week we had a ball returned to midfield and we had a penalty.
Q: Do you think the guys were aware of the endings in the Dallas and Washington games?
Q: So do you think it would have played any factor had they known?
A: It didn’t have any effect on us on the field. Some of them may have known, but I didn’t pay any attention to it. What happened?
Q: They both won on the last play.
A: On the last play? But we won, too, didn’t we?
Q: Well, it just looked like you guys were ready to open up a big lead in the division.
A: Well, you know better than that. We couldn’t stand for that.
Q: How is Bradshaw?
A: Well, I’m sure he is going to be sore as he always is, but he was able to go back in.
Q: Could he have gone back in at the end?
A: I think he could have.
Q: What does it say about David Wilson’s mental fortitude that he was able to have this game after an up-and-down season?
A: Well, I don’t know what you mean by up-and-down because he is the same every day. He’s an upbeat kid. He loves to play, has great energy. Let’s be honest, for a rookie, he struggled at times with some of the protections and that type of thing, but it’s never been anything that has had a negative effect on him in terms of his attitude. His attitude has always been good. So, for him to come back out today and have the kind of game that we needed him to have, we needed a spark, and we certainly got one. The timing is right. The timing is right.
Q: Can you talk about Stevie Brown’s spark and his yardage record?
A: I just learned that as we were coming out here. Steve’s yardage with interceptions sets the record for the New York Giants. He was in position again, the one he picked in the fourth quarter, boy was that timing right. They had flipped the momentum on us almost completely. We weren’t doing much about it at that time. But thank goodness he makes that play and we end up kicking a field goal.
Q: Why does this team play its best when there is no margin of error?
A: I don’t know. You’ll have to go ask somebody else that one. I would hope we would play our best all the time but that’s not the case. We have traditionally done a decent job in certain years when we had no margin for error and our backs were to the wall. If that’s the case, let’s keep our backs to the wall.
Q: What do you think about Rolle? Is he a leader now and do you think your team needed his message about being nastier?
A: I think everyone knows now that Antrel thinks about what he is going to say. And what he does say, at this point in time, people take it in a very positive vein. What he did say last week, he was saying it from the heart. He saw what he saw and he thought it needed to be discussed or at least stated and, so, whether or not there was a response along those lines I couldn’t tell you, but I do know we had a very difficult opponent to try and defend and it was frustrating at times that they were running the ball the way they were, but eventually did a little better job in the second half on that as well.
Q: Why do you think your teams over the years respond so well to having their backs to the wall?
A: Good character. Good group of people. The desire factor, the idea that all the effort and work that you put into it is right in front of you now. It’s for you to determine your own fate. Destiny is a matter of choice. I wouldn’t be able to give you any deep answer to that. Just win.
Q: Is it frustrating you can’t dominate the entire season?
A: Well yeah, you’d like to, but unfortunately you are playing against good people too. This is a highly, highly competitive league. The parity is incredible. Week in and week out, look at what you face now. I mean in Carolina and Washington, their style of offense. The level of talent is incredible. And sometimes, you prepared well, your heart is in the right place, you play hard and you don’t win. And there are times, obviously, this year where we haven’t played as well as we would have liked to. We are all about trying to be consistent, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s what we talked about this week as well. Establishing consistency.
Q: Did you have to say anything to Eli after that first pick?
A: I liked the way he responded. He wears that stuff hard. That one and the later interception he wasn’t very happy about and I wasn’t either.
Q: What do you think the message is going forward this late in the season?
A: Same message, over and over and over. Humble in victory, lots of work to do, very difficult opponent coming up this week. And still, maintaining this one-game lead. Understanding the difficulty of our schedule but understanding also you can’t get where we want to go without playing the best and having a chance to beat the best. The message now is, again, each one of these games is very, very critical to getting to where we want to go.
Q: What did you think about the pass rush?
A: Well, it’s difficult. They did a really good job of keeping lots of people in and causing problems for us from a protection standpoint. I would have liked to have seen more on the quarterback, but to be honest with you, the way they blocked it up it was a difficult thing.
Q: Did Nicks get hurt?
A: No. I don’t think he got hurt, I think he wore down.
Q: Did you step out of character saying you needed to win out?
A: That’s not what I said. When we start the season off, I talk about winning 16. When we had four to go, I talk about winning four. It’s just about winning. You’re better off if you feel you have to win each one of these games. What I try to do is make our people absolutely aware of the circumstances. The way you solve your own issues and your own problems is to take care of your own business. How do you take care of your own business? Win.