Coughlin: Winning formula 'by the wayside'

New York coach Tom Coughlin talks Giants and 49ers and discusses several subjects regarding the two teams and Sunday's game at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands.

Q: What kind of work do you have to do to correct the things that went wrong in Monday's loss to Cleveland?
Coughlin:
(Chuckling). We've got a lot of stuff to correct. It begins right away unfortunately. It's a short week for us, but we have a lot of things that we have to deal with and I think we'll be about the business of correcting. We are going to have our meetings underway in our work out here coming soon. We do have to focus on a lot of things. Our formula for winning kind of went by the wayside, in terms of we haven't turned the ball over [and] we did turn it over and that's not a good thing. We didn't really effectively stop the run and that hurt us.

Q: Obviously you never want to lose, but is a loss at this stage in the season such a bad thing? You guys started off poorly last year, really caught [on] fire and things have gone so well up to this point.
Coughlin:
Yeah, but it's just the idea. When you say that what are you associating it with? For me, this has been a team that has done a good job of staying focused and doing what they have to do despite what the constant questions [from] the media about complacency and being satisfied and that type of thing, and to play as well as we did against Seattle, let's face it, it's such a shocking turnaround. But then again, you're dealing with human nature and there are things that you have to try to deal with and get people back focused. And of course anytime that you have something like this happen, no doubt that the attention will be there.

Q: Do you write this off as just a one bad game for your team, or did Cleveland give a good example of maybe the best way to try to beat the Giants?
Coughlin:
Well Cleveland was very well prepared, they played well. A lot of what they did was very timely, and as I said, we haven't experienced the turnovers. Let's face it, we're in the scoring zone twice until we're in the fringe once and definitely in there one other time and throw an interception, which denies us opportunities or even field goals if you will. But I'm not taking anything away from Cleveland. They played well, they were physical, they did the things they had to do to win. Their play calling was timely, so I don't know that it's a way to unless you say that you're going to get those kind of turnovers and don't turn it over and have the kind of offensive day that they had, which they haven't been having. You're hard pressed to say that that's the way.

Q: This 49ers team, as you look at it, is it capable of doing the same kinds of things that Cleveland's offense did?
Coughlin:
Well, that's for somebody else to decide. That's not for me. I'm not falling into that one. I spoke at length about some things last week when we played Cleveland. They certainly do have outstanding personnel. They've been very competitive to a point in each of these last three losses. They've gone head-to-head with some good football teams too.

Q: Did Eli Manning's injury have anything to do with the interceptions he threw against Cleveland?
Coughlin:
I'm sure late in the game they did, yes. I would say the first half, no, but definitely later in the ball game. He's going to be fine. He's practicing. He's sore, but a lot of people at this point in the season are sore.

Q: Some of your backs have some pretty outrageous averages. How big of a part does that run game set up what you try to do?
Coughlin:
That's what we – that's the thing that's the enigma about the other night. We did have a big rushing night. With that, you would think that we would have controlled the ball, et cetera, et cetera. But, it complements it. The team complements each other. We then do a good job in one phase, and weren't able to overcome it. The running, the rush the football is something. We always talk about balance and we certainly want to try to be balanced. We have some people that enjoy the run game and complement each other with it.

Q: What stands out to you when you watch the 49ers on film?
Coughlin:
Well, as I said, I think they're – offensively they have a lot of weapons. They certainly utilize them. I think defensively they have a good scheme. They play hard. They're in every ballgame right to the end of the game. You look at the one team that we know very well, is the Philadelphia team, and that was quite a game right into the middle of the fourth quarter.

Q: What have you seen from Nate Clements so far?
Coughlin:
Good football player. Veteran football player. Uncanny. Really smart. Aggressive. Has put together some kind of string of games that he's been able to play. Just a very good coverage player.

Q: What do you think about the addition of Takeo Spikes playing alongside Patrick Willis in the middle of the 49ers defense?
Coughlin:
It seems as though Takeo [Spikes] having quite a year. He's got three interceptions. He's played, as you say, right next to a very good football player in Patrick Willis, and they seem to combine and complement each other well.

Q: Have you asked Justin Tuck to do anything more than he did last year with you guys losing the two ends? Has his role increased?
Coughlin:
I think as you move forward, each week as you're playing you develop certain things you think are going to be successful and you ask key individuals to go ahead and participate. Justin's asked pretty much to do that every week. He plays from a two-point position. He can line up on either side. He can lineup inside over any of the interior people, so we do ask him to do a lot. But he's the kind of play who looks forward to that kind of challenge.

Q: As far as Brandon Jacobs goes, is there a worry there that he's such a big guy, so much surface area to hit, he delivers a lot of punishment but also absorbs a lot of hits as well?
Coughlin:
Yeah, but we are fortunate in that we do have some other guys: Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw, guys that can come in the game and spell him, and give us some versatility, if you will. Brandon's forte is to quell the run. And that's what he does, and he does it well. He did a really outstanding job the other night.

Q: Do you get the sense that early in the game, defenses try to send the message that they're not going to be intimidated by him? There seems to be a lot of jawing, especially early in games?
Coughlin:
I don't know if it's…I'm not sure that it's all toward one individual, but I'm sure that the defense is trying to make as much of a statement as the offense is.

Q: The 49ers have talked about, at 2-4 right now, it's a long season. ‘Look what the Giants did last year.' While you were going through that, at what point did you sense that momentum change to go from a team that struggles and turning it on late in the year?
Coughlin:
Well, we were 0-2 and won six straight. I think that was…at the halfway point we were 6-2 heading into the last half of the season. We put together some wins, it wasn't as if we were able to maintain that week-in and week-out. We did have some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. When the timing was right, we were able to put together being at our best when our best was needed.



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