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Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Week 14 Recap

Tom Coughlin spoke to Rick Laughland and Giants beat reporters about the big Monday night win in South Beach.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Conference Call, December 15, 2015

I think I said everything last night, I’ll say it again in terms of just finishing a game. Feeling good about being able to finish a game with the ball in our hands, to get into the victory formation, which we haven’t seen a whole lot of this year. To be able to take the clock down from over four minutes to the point where the opponent had no more timeouts and we had made a first down and could go ahead and kneel and get the game over with. So the whole theme all week was to play 60 minutes and to finish a game, finish the game, be able to make the kind of plays necessary when the game is on the line. And to not to be discouraged by circumstances within the game, but rather to let that unite you, make you stronger, and do everything in your power to overcome it. That’s basically the way we went into the game. And with the ability to win the game on the road against a very talented team and to be able to finish it or close it out, as I said, under festive surroundings in Miami was a very good thing.

 

Q: Ereck Flowers had to leave the game again, anything new on him today?

A: No, I don’t have a lot of stuff. We didn’t bring the players in until 2 o’clock. I hope it’s nothing more than just the re-aggravation of that (ankle) injury. You’d love to have that heal and be over with, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

 

Q: What does it say to you about him toughing it out for three quarters? Is that something you’re alright with, the fact that that’s the way it’s going to be, get three quarters out of him?

A: Well, it’s not something I’m alright with. But Ereck works hard, he is very optimistic and positive about his own ability to control his pain and his own situation. By the end of the week, he was feeling good about himself and thought he could go and play. And I think until the point where his ankle was really bothering him, he was very effective.

 

Q:( Rick Laughland | TheGiantsBeat.com)

 Eli isn’t the type of player that really wears his emotions on his sleeve or is very vocal, but some of the players said he had kind of a pregame speech for everybody. Do you think that played into maybe a motivational factor for him on Monday and helped him with his performance?

A: I think he was in that mindset most of the week. I think he, perhaps, put it into words at the end of the week. But he had studied hard, studied long, was not pleased with the outcome of the previous game, and he had made up his mind to really get to know this Miami team, as all of our players resolved to do. I think that’s where it all came from.

 

Q: ( Rick Laughland | TheGiantsBeat.com)

Do you think that kind of brings out the best in him when he has his back against the wall and the season could possibly be on the line, that that’s when he tends to rise to the occasion?

A: Well, I think he’s at his best most of the time, to be honest with you. These circumstances are very obvious and if you’re going to play well, you better play well now. And I think he’s well aware of that and well aware of his role in leading us to compete and have a chance to win. I think that’s where it comes from.

 

Q: I know it’s obviously impossible to measure this kind of thing, but do you have any feel for what last night did for you guys going forward. You were able to do all the things you’ve been preaching with the fourth quarter plays and finishing and all that kind of thing. How much do you think this can boost you going ahead?

A: There’s no doubt winning is the biggest factor and going on the field and doing it rather than just all talk. So I think from that standpoint, anytime you have that type of confidence—and I think there will be a certain measure of accomplishment. And I think the question I’ll have again for our players will be, ‘Okay, so we did this the other night…do you realize how much we’re going to have to improve over that as we prepare to compete against an undefeated team?’ So I think the groundwork will be laid, but there are a lot of things that have to be done better.

 

Q: You laid some groundwork last week when you spliced in some shots, some film stuff of the plays you guys have made to win some of your games this year. And a couple players late in the week said that was eye opening to them and kind of a motivating factor. Do you feel like that set them in a good mind frame by the end of the week?

A: We wanted to come from disappointment, from not being able to finish a game, from having the entire world comment on that. We wanted to come from that basis to show them that there were games throughout the year where we had come back, where we did finish, and where we did make the big plays when they had to be made. And that’s the reason we did it and hopefully the exact way in which you expressed it was the way in which the players accepted it.

 

Q: ( Rick Laughland | TheGiantsBeat.com)

You have elected to go with a running back by committee approach but, Rashad Jennings had a season-high 22 rushing attempts. Do you see maybe some of the carries shifting his direction or was that just dictated by the opponent or simply a case of going with the hot hand?

A: Well, your words are not what mine were about the hot hand. It was obvious to us last night that some of the runs that Rashad made were outstanding runs that he did an awful lot of that himself. He showed power at the end of the run and he was able to push through some of those runs that looked like were three yards to five yards. And what a huge difference that is in the play calling world and in any circle when it’s second and five and you’ve got two downs to accomplish the first down. We thought he played very well. He certainly was the guy who made an awful lot of things happen. (Orleans) Darkwa got a few shots, he had a nice run. And Andre (Williams) had a good run early on and, despite us all being upset about the fumble and the location and all of those types of things. But there’s no doubt that Rashad played well and through his performance and the fact that the run was contributing to what we were doing, he was the guy who was the most productive, so therefore he got a large number of carries.

 

Q: Will he continue to?

A: Well, we’ll see, yeah. We’ll certainly start that way. For the life of me, I have no idea why you people are so hung up on this, must be nothing else to write about. But certainly, we will. We have, again, different ability ranges and guys who can be tapped and utilized in many different functions—(Shane) Vereen being another, and we’ll continue to do that as well.

 

Q: When you had a chance to look at it, what happened on the Andre Williams’ fumble that you were talking about?

A: It looked the pocket may not have been as big and the ball was placed maybe up high. The top arm came into play and the ball really jettisoned out of that pocket beyond the line of scrimmage to the point where I didn’t see the ball. But I had said something to Andre when he came to the sidelines about recovering the ball, and the fact of the matter was he was trying to, he was chasing it.

 

Q: When you look at Andre Williams, he’s had some struggles this year. Is it what he’s doing or not doing? Is it a combination of things? What do you see at the core of the struggles he’s had?

A: Well, the struggles….we’re all struggling to a certain extent. So I don’t think there’s anything that’s happening there that’s strictly Andre’s doing. I think there’s been games in which he’s had the majority of the plays in which he’s run hard and done some good things and others in which that hasn’t happened. He’s contributed on special teams. I think he’s a good young ball carrier that is really learning his trade as he goes.

 

Q: Near the end of the game, you had Cooper Taylor in the game and Landon Collins, who usually doesn’t come off the field, was out. Was that a performance-based situation there?

A: No. We had three safeties dress and if, in fact, there was some fatigue, we were going to rotate them through. When Cooper Taylor got in there, he did a nice job. He came to the line of scrimmage, he defended the run very well. So it is encouraging to continue to play him that way.

 

Q: Your level of concern with Josh Brown on the two misses in two weeks?

A: There’s concern, no doubt. He did make a field goal, as well. But we definitely need Josh to get back into the 19 in a row kind of thing. Because when you really count on those points—again, but we overcame that, too. He missed and we just didn’t have the three-point lead at that point in time. We go back and keep playing and that’s what happened. But yes, rather than one for two, the expectation is very high with Josh and we would expect it to be two for two.

 

Q: ( Rick Laughland | TheGiantsBeat.com)

Ndamukong Suh didn’t have a big game by any stretch. What were you guys able to do up front to keep him at bay from a pass rushing standpoint as well as tackling any of the ball carriers?

A: Well, he was a force. If you studied the film, he was definitely a force. And he was a penetrator and some of the circumstances that may not have looked or went in the book as a sack, he was in the backfield forcing us to hurry the throw or do something on terms that we were being dictated to rather than being on our timing and our terms. He’s a force in the game, there wasn’t any question about that. We did a nice job and Eli did a nice job and we did some doubling and some chipping on the outside with (Olivier) Vernon and that type of thing because they are two outstanding players. But they were a force in the game, believe me. We were fortunate to stay away from any of those numbers.

 

Q: Besides the obvious motivation…what this game means for the playoffs. What about the motivation to try and beat a team that’s undefeated?

A: We’ll use whatever motivation we can. This is a very good football team, they’ve been extremely productive. They’ve won some close games and they’ve won some games that were going away. And they’re against some teams that we know very well. So we’ll, as I say, the idea the circumstance that an undefeated team, but knowing full well what the situation is in our division. So all of those things combined, we would have to make a great effort.

 

Q: What was it about your game plan, in your estimation, offensively that worked so well against them last night? It seemed like you got the ball out quickly, you were able to get the ball downfield when you wanted to. What was it, do you think?

A: I thought we played well.

 

Q: So in your mind, it’s all execution?

A: It certainly was. It was better execution and we were more stout up front offensively with our offensive line. We did a better job of that. There’s still room to be improved, no doubt about it. But the accuracy with which the ball was delivered, the results after the catch, the ability to spread the ball around and have huge plays made by a lot of different people--touchdowns being registered, the big two minute play by Dwayne Harris from Eli and so on and so forth. Lots of contributors, lots of productivity from some throughout the game. Some situations that we thought could have been better. But we asked for a well-rounded contribution, be it run, be it distribution, however you might look at it. And I thought from that standpoint, we did accomplish it. Certainly we would like to rush for more yardage or average per-carry type thing, and hopefully we’re going to build on that. But I did think, for example, some of the ways in which we just buckled down with the four-minute runs and there was some real head knocking in there at that point in time. I thought that was a little bit of a step forward.

 

Q: Was the plan all along to move Jason Pierre-Paul back to the right side toward the end or did that come up as the game went along?

A: He could play on either side and the strategy is to play him on either side. He had played the majority on one side then got some snaps toward the end of the game on the other side. That’s not unusual and that’s something that may very well come up throughout the remainder of the season.


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