Press Conference: Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin addressed the media about the game from Sunday.

Q: Is this game even more remarkable after looking at the tape, when you realize that there were so many plays that could have changed the course of the game?

A: You look at it as I look at it and you see pretty much three quarters of the game, you're not playing all that well. Nothing seems to be going the way you'd like it to go. You come out after the half, they take the ball and score. I thought that in the fourth quarter and in the overtime, we actually played ourselves, as I said yesterday, into doing some good things. From that standpoint, it was a long game. We had a lot of snaps, but that was the good to come out of that.

Q: Was it almost hard to watch the first three quarters? Did you just want to fast forward to the comeback and overtime?

A: No. I think there are, as always, some great teaching examples in those first three quarters in all phases. Again, special teams, as I mentioned yesterday, did a couple of good things, but a couple of things weren't that good. You see that as well. There's always so much to be done from that standpoint, and then when you're watching the individuals as they perform under pressure, you learn a little bit more about them.

Q: Michael Strahan said that a team sometimes needs a win like this to rally around and find themselves. Do you agree?

A: I think it's great to win under those circumstances. First of all, to play on the road. And to have the ingredients there that are necessary to win, leadership on the field, the physical toughness, and then the resolve, the mental toughness. The ability to stick to your guns and stay with your beliefs when it's not going well for you. To overcome that, I just think it's a tremendous boost to their confidence. It also, in a very positive way, it's one play at a time. We play a long game. Ours is a long game and there are lots of opportunities in it. To just keep playing, keep playing and go as hard as you can and try to make something happen. I think there's where the real positives come. And, of course, the jubilation of having that win under those circumstances, in Philadelphia, coming into that locker room, seeing all of those faces. That can be an extremely positive thing, providing you understand that being humble in victory means you have to analyze all of those things, look at the areas that have to be improved, and we have a lot of them, and then improve them. Go from there. Provide yourself with an opportunity to get better. Take this penalty situation and look at it in a realistic way and ask yourself, 'Why are we making it this hard on ourselves?' It's hard enough as it is, but yet to have even that last series brought back, when the ball's down there inside the 10-yard line. There's a lot of things that you constantly have to look at. Of course, the joy of the moment is followed by the sitting there and looking at, at 5:00 in the morning, those plays and saying to yourself, 'Jeez. We have a lot of things to get better.'

Q: When you're playing a no-huddle offense, how much of a framework are you giving Eli Manning, or does he have a lot of freedom out there?

A: He's got freedom, but the plays are coming from the sideline. You're wired into the quarterback. I thought that their going to their two minute, at the beginning of the game -- we had just played an entire game, from a defensive standpoint, against a no-huddle offense. I thought, well, maybe this will turn out to be an advantage for us. I don't know what their objective was, or their exact goal. Maybe, I speculated, keeping us out of some of our pressures. But they did very well. Let's face it, they did very well with it. I thought when we went to our no-huddle, by situation, by circumstance, by clock, I thought that we gained some momentum from that.

Q: When the other team goes to a no-huddle offense, does that change a lot of what you're trying to do?

A: Not really, because it's not, as you can see, it's a more or less get-up-over-the-ball kind of no-huddle. It's not a very up-tempo. It's just an ability to basically keep the players on the field that are on the field. You take a great risk, as you know, in trying to substitute in those situations for fear the ball can be snapped. And you do have to communicate everything. You communicate from the sideline to the field, from the safeties to the linebackers, and then working kind of inside out. You do have a lot of that going on. There's a package that you carry in with you for all situations that pretty much gives you good flexibility. Any time that there is a change in personnel from the other team, you can go ahead and change your personnel.

Q: Is that comparable to what Seattle does?

A: They play up-tempo. That's different, now. Up-tempo means they're snapping the ball at 20 to 18 (seconds left on the play clock), somewhere in there. It's different from what we're talking about here. This is really, there's no rush here. They're out over the ball, much as Indianapolis was. A lot of the gyrations were the same. They weren't, obviously, all the same, but a lot of them were as they signaled to one another what they were going to do. The way Seattle plays it is different.

Q: Is there more no-huddle being played in the league today than there used to be?

A: We knew, obviously, that's the way Indianapolis plays. I can't tell you about the other games, because at this point in the season I haven't seen that many teams. Obviously it was planned. It was well-planned.

Q: Is the no-huddle something you'd consider going to earlier in the game, because it did work so well?

A: It depends. It depends on the tempo of the game, the way it's going. We always have some kind of form of that in the back of our minds if we need it. It's always a thought, but I wouldn't write it down in any…

Q: Does Eli's experience give you more options with regards to the no-huddle?

A: He played well in that mode. He handles it very well. He's gained, by virtue of his experience, he's gained in maturity in how to handle that. He literally is going around telling people what to do and he's…The clock's running down on him, and he's taking his time in terms of recognition of what the defense is up to. He's grown with that part of it as well.

Q: How many of those plays does he actually call from the line?

A: He gets the plays from the sideline. He has a choice on a few of them, and he normally makes the right choice. He has all of the flexibility with the protection.

Q: I know so far you've played against two of the top quarterbacks in the league, but where is the pass-rush? Are you concerned about that?

A: I am. We didn't get much pressure on…It's not easy to get pressure on Donovan (McNabb) and that's kind of been…That's one of the very strong parts about their team. They're good, they're big. It's difficult. But I'm disappointed in the fact that we didn't put more pressure on him.

Q: Last night after the game in the locker room, you were looking at Amani Toomer, just kind of staring at him.

A: I was just kind of trying to make sure that he was doing all right. He had played a whale of a game and he had, you know, that last play, the touchdown to Plaxico (Burress), he was there lying on the field, cramping up. There was a lot of that on both sides. A lot of people needed IV's after that game.

Q: Was there a part of you that looked at him and thought, wow, he's given everything he has?

A: I admire (him). It was in admiration that I was watching, to make sure that he was okay because he was (in the training room for) quite some time. And he feels pretty good today, much to his credit. RE: Jeremy Shockey

A: He's sore again and it's got some swelling, so I think he was going for further tests, but he's had these tests before.

Q: Do you look at it this week thinking that if you sit him and then he has the bye week to recover?

A: I hope we get him. It's been a process where we've gotten him toward the end of the week, though he was better the second week than he was the first week. I'm holding out that perhaps he'll be at least equal to where he's been the last couple of weeks. We'll have to see.

Q: Was Eli Manning an exception to the poor play in the first three quarters? He seemed to be playing very well.

A: He was, but I think he got frustrated a little bit on some of the sacks as well. He kept hanging in there, and we kept encouraging (him) to do that. He certainly did that to the nth degree.

Q: After the game, Antonio Pierce said the defense is undisciplined. Is that freelancing, or…?

A: No, it's not freelancing. It's really not doing their jobs. You'll see, if you look at one play, you'll have someone out of position, or someone not involved in the coverage the way they're supposed to be. Or the rush is not taking place exactly where it's supposed to be. So it might be one phase of the defense is not in the position that you're supposed to be in. What he's saying to you there, from a discipline standpoint, is that knowing what to do, when to do it, having the ability to repeat it over and over, and then doing it well. From time to time it's not being done as well as it can be done.

Q: As he said, there are a lot of new guys in there, but they should be used to it by now and it's not an excuse…

A: It's no excuse. Thank goodness we settled down toward the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. We did get the three and out in the overtime. We had 22 plays, they had three. We were able to do some things there in the fourth quarter which resembled us playing some solid defense, and that's what I said. We played long enough yesterday that I thought we started to play, to do some things with at least some consistency. We did not play well defensively at first…We take the ball and go score, and then they take the ball and boom. They're pretty much in control for the whole first half, clock and yardage, etc. We're certainly going to have to play better than that.

Q: With Toomer hanging in the way he did, is that an example of leadership by example at its best?

A: I think so. There were a number of guys that did hang in and keep playing, finding a way to play better. Some of the things that don't get recognized were so critical in that game. You talk about the Carter…When Plaxico catches that ball and he's trying to go to the end zone, gets stripped, (Brian) Dawkins is right there. He goes on the ball and (Visanthe) Shiancoe goes on top of him and gets the ball free. And then Tim Carter recovers that ball. (Kareem) McKenzie recovers a ball. Shiancoe recovers a key fumble. We get the ball out on (Brian) Westbrook and we get the ball recovered by (Will) Demps. (Gibril) Wilson knocks it out. Those things, I think in the course of the game, there were four balls on the ground. We got all four of those, and those are huge. Those hustle plays are huge plays that don't get maybe the headline, but they're extremely critical in winning and losing. I thought that was another example of guys playing. Just keep playing and be opportunistic. Have in your mind what can happen, and be in the right place at the right time. Finish the play, as Tim did. All of a sudden he comes roaring into that scene.

Q: Would it be fair to say that a lot of the sacks yesterday weren't blitz situations, just rushes?

A: That's fair to say, yeah. They got to the quarterback and put pressure on us with a four-man rush a lot of times. (That was because of the) offensive line and we weren't as good yesterday with the other phases of protection. Your chips, your slides, extra people being in the right spot. We weren't as good as we were the week before.

Q: Do you think Manning could have saved a few of those sacks with footwork?

A: There wasn't a lot of…I didn't see any footwork. As a matter of fact, when he stepped up a couple of times, he made a couple of really great throws. The one in overtime to Plaxico at the end of the game, look at all of the circumstances surrounding that one. You're talking about a long field goal right there. And he steps up with people in his face off his back foot and makes that throw, and the one to Carter in the middle of the field was just an outstanding play.

Q: What was Antonio Pierce's injury?

A: He didn't have one. He maybe started to cramp.

Q: How is James Butler?

A: He has a sprained MCL. We'll see. It'll be a day to day thing.

Q: Were there any other injuries?

A: (Shakes head no)

Q: The penalty situation in Seattle was a low point of last year. Is that something the team is reminded of now?

A: I think it's very much in their minds. It's been very much in their minds. As I told you, we practice with noise, we practice with officials, we do penalty runs with penalties. It's a focus, really, and it's an offensive problem right now, not that it can't be spread around, and I hope it isn't, but it's an offensive problem right now. Why we make it so hard on ourselves is something that we'll continue to work our tail off to get through this. It's not just, we had three false starts and we had a couple of foolish penalties, a holding penalty when we didn't need one, not that you ever do. The holding penalty with regard to the run by (Brandon) Jacobs there at the end of the overtime. It's interesting to hear all of this discussion about how undisciplined we are, which people I guess want to say. Well, I guess that means Philadelphia, (they) had 10, we had nine -- they're undisciplined. I watched some of the game, as you probably did, last night. There were all kinds of penalties in Washington-Dallas. Everybody, I think, is fighting like crazy to get control of this. To know the rules is one thing. And then to constantly be aware of them without taking away anybody's aggressiveness, that's the next step. Knowing how the officials are calling the game. I think as we move forward and continue to focus on this, hopefully we can make some improvements.

Q: Are you hoping some of these errors are just coming out of training camp, because a lot of these guys didn't play whole games in the preseason?

A: We're going to work as hard as we can to correct it, without a doubt. That's a major objective.

Q: Is Manning to the point now where you can do more things with him, and he can handle the full load?

A: He's really had the full load, with the exception of some rookie year adjustments. He's had the full load, and he's perfectly capable of handling it.

Q: Does the fact that you got through a long game without the people who had problems with false starts in Seattle last year encourage you?

A: Well, sure. Yesterday we had a couple out of the tight ends. Quite frankly, it's a different situation every week, but yesterday with the guys on the wing, they were really trying to get a great jump on the silent count. A couple of times, they were definitely offsides, but the offensive player would move, and it would revert back to a false start again. You really have to discipline yourself to sit there when you know the guy's got the jump, and he is offside, but nevertheless, he's on his way to your quarterback, too.

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