Re: What was the main problem on third down on offense?
Lack of execution. When we go one for 11 that's'everyone wants to know about why all these things didn't take place. Why didn't we run the ball more' Why didn't we''
To be honest with you, when you are three and out, three and out, three and out, there is not much rhythm. What we have had the last few weeks is an opportunity where we would run then pass for a completion, and then run. We would have some continuity going where we would get a drive going and get some rhythm. We didn't have any rhythm yesterday and that's the main reason. When you are going to keep the ball'which is totally opposite of what we expected to do'but to try and keep our defense off the field, to keep the ball and have some time of possession. Our times of possessions were even in the first and fourth quarters, but in the second and third quarters they were totally out of proportion. So, we weren't able to do that. The big thing is that we weren't able to convert and they did. They converted nine of 15 and we were one of 11.
Re: What kinds of mistakes in the lack of execution?
You're talking about an inability to get open. You're talking about a sack. You're talking about an inaccurate throw. You're talking about all of the above. We stuck a real nice ball on the sideline to Tim Carter and he was out of bounds. You're talking about all kinds of things that contribute to not being able to control and keep the ball. You're talking about something that would go awry that would force us not to be able to make that third down no matter what the distance was. The early ones were relatively short. Third-and-four and third-and-five and we did not convert those. So, it was a case of doing things that we had been able to do. We were over 40 percent on third down. We obviously expected to be able to do the same thing. I think going in we probably expected more pressure. I think Dallas recognized the fact that they were able and willing to rush four a great deal of the time and play coverage and they did that. We weren't in the split second timing of just getting open and getting the ball delivered and the short area of space wasn't there. Now towards the end of the game when we scored in two plays, we made two outstanding plays, both of which were in the pressure and both ' the first down play reacted by the quarterback was outstanding. Eli (Manning) maneuvered around in the pocket and made a heck of an escape move and threw the ball down the field to Plaxico (Burress). And then the play to Jeremy (Shockey) was in a blitz situation and Jeremy was able to catch the ball and convert it to a touchdown. So, those plays were run from a two-minute concept, but were executed in a fashion, which you might normally attribute to third down. We weren't able to do that early in the game.
Re: Is there a situation where you think about going for two points at the end of the game?
Think about two' When you can tie the game to go into overtime' The percentages are not in your favor.
Re: How often did they have three cornerbacks on the field?
They played quite a bit. In other words, early in the game when we went into what we call our 'Detroit' package ' two tight ends, one back, two wide receivers. They were bringing in their nickel package even right then. Eventually, we saw with the Detroit package with the three wide package. They played their base personnel against our regular set and that's pretty much the way we played the game.
Re: Continuation of last question. The weakness of the nickel would be against the run, I assume. Is that correct?
You still have a number of people in the box. If you're playing with two tight ends and two wide receivers deployed as such with opposite receivers out and tight ends on the end of the line, you are going to end up with seven guys in the box no matter what. But, on paper you are trying to say they've got one defender out and one secondary person in.
Re: On the run working well on one drive and then getting away from that.
Yes, we did. But if you go back and look at the way we played, we've had a real good mix of run and pass and screens. And that's been the way that we have been successful. I think going into any game what we are trying to do is create the kind of balance that allows us to both run and pass. The run is effective with the pass. It's easy on Monday to look back and say 'Geez, we should have run the ball and kept running the ball.' In reality that's not the way we have played. The way we have been successful is with a real good mix. Our best mix was against the Rams and so that's the way we attempted to play this week. That's the way we felt we would have to play. We have controlled the ball with the pass and if you are going to be successful, then you are going to have to control the ball with a short passing game.
Re: Eli is throwing more to Shockey and Burress than (Amani) Toomer. Does he just have better chemistry with those guys?
Many times the coverage dictates exactly where that ball would go and many times the play is set up that way. You expect one or two different kinds of coverages and the ball will go according. We've had pretty good balance coming in. It didn't happen yesterday, but we didn't have a whole lot of success yesterday doing anything. So, I wouldn't start the 'Well, this guy is getting the ball and this guy is not getting the ball.' That's not the way the thing is designed at all. Toomer made a great play on fourth down against the Rams. All those receivers have been utilized. Tim Carter was utilized yesterday as well. Maybe we should use Tim Carter more.
Re: Did Burress run the wrong route on the Manning interception?
It was a poor throw into coverage. The safety never moved and stayed on the back side and created a very, very small window that you might possibly get the ball in. So, the ball shouldn't have gone to him.
Re: Screen passes disappearing since the first game and whether opponents have taken them away or not?
We have three or four screens in for every game and the sack, to be honest with you, the sack two plays after the 59-yard play to Shockey was a screen, but we broke down on the back side and it never did develop. But, we carry a bunch of screens each week and sometimes they're utilized and sometimes they're not. We tried to throw a 'go' screen yesterday and we weren't successful with that. So, we did have two screens called. We only had 53 snaps now. Let's remember that, too.
Re: Do you expect more opponents using three cornerbacks against you?
No, that's the first time ' Dallas had done that the week before. They did it a little bit at the very beginning of the game against Philadelphia and against regular people. So, it wasn't a complete surprise when they did that. And perhaps it will happen. But, most of the time it's either by your personnel or by down and distance. I don't expect it to change.
Re: Continuation of last question.
It may. It may, but I don't see that as being'
Re: Is Brandon Jacobs the short yardage back or isn't he?
If it's true third-and-one personnel, short yardage personnel and true goal line personnel, he was the short yardage back. And despite what was brought up at the end of the press conference yesterday, Brandon participated in probably 20-25 special teams snaps throughout the course of the game. So, he was involved in the game and he was hit. He was blocking, if you will, on the kickoff return team and on the punt return team. So, he had opportunities to compete.
Re: Did it look like Tim Carter was out of bounds after looking at the tape?
Well, to be honest with you, the referee said to me, 'There really wasn't any angle that proved anything, so I couldn't overrule.' And I can say the same thing about the tape. If you look at the tape, you can't see where his toes are on the line. It looks like his toe is in bounds, but again we're talking about ' again last week it was spots. This is kind of the way it goes. Whatever the ruling is, that's the ruling.
Re: How would you like to see overtimes decided in the NFL?
I'd like to see us get the ball. I would have liked to start the overtime with the ball. I'm comfortable with the rule provided we get the ball.
Re: Does Brandon Jacobs have to learn not to run straight up?
Let's be honest about it, this kid made a heck of an effort now. He got whacked, alright. He's still moving towards the goal line and the unfortunate thing is when a guy goes for the second effort and he's fighting and scrapping, sometimes that ball moves and that other hand moves off the ball. He's trying to do something, he gets hit at the time and the ball comes out. Now he has work to do. There's no question about it. He needs to be in position where his pads are over the ball better, where the ball is more protected, where his shoulders help him protect the ball rather than being up and down. But, he's a powerful man, he's a tall man, and he has a lot to learn about this league, about what has to happen in those situations in order to protect the ball. In truth, he made a heck of an effort to get to where he did. I think they hit him ' one guy dove over the top and hit him and another guy came through and hit him and he continued to move forward. It was maybe that fourth or fifth hit that actually got the ball out of there at that time. But, what I was saying ' in the dismay, for example, that the ball went on the ground, what I was most pleased with was that our team was really sharp as far as being on top of the way we wanted to play that ball being on the minus-one (yard line) for them coming out and with he utilization of our timeouts. With that type of thing, I was pleased with the way our players reacted to that and then when we got the ball back, we scored in two plays. So, the resiliency ' I was asked about mental toughness. That whole deal -- despite a game, which, quite frankly, not very much went our way -- I was pleased to see the focus and everybody on that sideline thinking that we could win the game. And that was one of the very few things that we would take away from it in a positive sense was the way in which, despite all these issues ' don't forget we played a game yesterday completely out of character from the way we play: we had three turnovers in the first half with two of the field positions inside the 40-yard line. The other one at the 47 (yard line) and came away with two field goals. One touchdown there would have made a huge difference. We start the second half ' they have scored every time they have gotten the ball the first drive of the second half. Not only did we shut them down, but we get a turnover. And we had the ball at the 31-yard line and that's when the third-and-six interception comes. We give them a fumble at the 19-yard line and they go backwards and then miss a 48-yard field goal. I recited some of this to our team. I started with special teams. Our special teams play, with the exception of one or two plays, was outstanding. Four times our kickoff coverage teams ' 17, 19, 21, and 23 (yard lines) ' that's where they started from. They started the overtime from the 23-yard line. Twice, I thought, our chances for kickoff returns would have been big. We had no penalties on special teams. We had four punts inside the 20-yard line. So, our field goal protection was outstanding with a 50-yarder and a 45-yarder. Our defense gave the ball to our offense in excellent field position pretty much throughout the day with an inability to take advantage of it. So, as I said to our team, what's missing from this presentation' What's missing is the fact that they had 25 first downs, they were nine of 15 on third down, and they threw the ball for almost 300 yards. And at some point in time, we have to take responsibility for getting them off the field defensively. I can say all we want about our offense not holding the ball, but at some point in time, we have to be able to go ahead and do that as well. I think therein lies'we didn't really give up the big play, although they got the 26-yarder, which put them in field goal range in overtime. Again, not enough concentrated tough, hard-nosed coverage in the underneath areas and even to a certain extent on the outside, which we still have to improve upon. They rushed 38 times for 92 yards. They rushed for 2.4 yards (per carry). They also scored 16 points. Now, I am just going to tell you standing here, okay, if you hold the other guy to 16 points, then you should win every week. Every week. So, we've had two games in which we have lost and the continuity of the three areas of our team playing together in unison, knowing what each other is all about, and knowing how to contribute to the win has misfired twice. Once defensively in San Deigo and once offensively in Dallas. And that's why we are standing here today. It's remorse for opportunity lost, okay, and that's exactly what it is. But, we have a lot of young guys in that locker room, okay, that need to have some kind of a pat on the rear end and saying: 'Hey, it's a long season and there's a lot of tough football games ahead. We may be suffering today, but tomorrow you have to come back and be ready to go.'
Re: Does that go for Brandon Jacobs too?
Absolutely. Absolutely, without a doubt. You have to take care of the football first and foremost, but the effort was outstanding. I cannot tell you that I was disappointed in the kid's effort.