Press Conference: Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin answered questions for the media today. Here are some of the questions:

Q: What can you tell us about Jeremy Shockey?
A: I don't know anything yet.  He's having some tests this afternoon.
Q: He had x-rays after the game yesterday.  Were those…
A: Fine.
Q: So there was no break or anything?
A: Obviously the investigation continues.
Q: Do you believe it to be the ankle and he just re-aggravated it, or is this something different?
A: No, it's the ankle area.  We're going to have to see the whole…He's had the ankle that's been a problem, so we'll – As soon as we get the information back we can clarify that.
Q: Is it the other foot, or the same one?
A: (same…right)
Q: This has been two or three games now where he's started out and not been able to finish.  Have you given any thought to sitting him down for one or two weeks?
A: Well, we just did for two weeks.  We basically had a full week off…We had a full week where he was rested, and then when he was brought back, he responded very well.  He practiced well.  He felt good and practiced well, and how this other one came about, I'm not sure.
Q: Heading into this game, he was…
A: He felt as good as he has felt in a long time. 
Q: Eli had said that even at 50 percent or not 100 percent, Jeremy is still better than half of the defenders he's going to face.  Do you feel the same way, and is he still valuable?
Q: Obviously.  He's played pretty much every game with the injury factor.
Q: I'm sure you'd rather be 4-0, but 2-2 with the schedule you guys have had, give us kind of a sense of where this team is.  Do you like where it is?
A: No, you'd like to be 4-0, like you said, but we are 2-2.  That's the reality of the situation. Hopefully we're…We're scratching the surface.  We have a long way to go (with) many, many battles to fight, but we were able to play a game the way we'd like to play it, and I think that's a positive.
Q: How do you transfer that effort onto the road?
A: That's part of the challenge, obviously.  Transferring it onto the road, you have to be able to play within yourself, play the way you want to play, and still realize that you're on the road in a hostile environment.  You just have to have better poise, and I think you have to go out and make the kind of plays that allow you to be somewhat in control of yourself, and not (let) the crowd (to be) the key factor of the game.  Play well on the road.  That's basically where you are.  The end of the Philadelphia game was somewhat of a pretty good example, I think, where things started to happen well and it wasn't quite as – They were kind of stunned, and that's the way you'd like it to be.
Q: After the Eagles game, people said that would be the point where you would jump off and get things going and then you went to Seattle.  Now after this game people say this is when you'll start to get things going.  How do you stop it from going down again?
A: You just have to play well.  Hopefully, this is – Again, you get started playing the kind of game you want to play: with no turnovers, you rush the ball, you defend the run, you have people in good position against the pass.  You're asking me questions that don't make…We've started something; hopefully we're going to be able to build on it.  How do people say where you are, back and forth, back and forth.  My concern right now is to take a football team that obviously had a lot of work to do in the two weeks that we had and did do a good job of that.  We were very serious about our preparation.  The players practiced well.  We did practice faster, we practiced harder.  We had good energy.  We had good energy the entire week.  It did manifest itself on Sunday, and I hope that that's the major example that I want to, for our players to understand, is that we worked hard for this and there's a formula for this.  We have to stay within that formula, preparation being the key.
Q: The players clearly played at a higher level.  Is there something that the coaching staff also did a whole lot better after Seattle and the bye week that you guys can identify that you cleaned up as well, and as a coaching staff, did better?
A: I've mentioned to you right from the very beginning last week that we decided that we would go back to basics, go back to fundamentals, put a package together and have time to work on it that was fundamentally sound, that had people in the right places -- alignment, assignment, execution -- that put ourselves into some better positions from a coverage standpoint to try to eliminate some of the red-area problems, some of the problems on the field vs. the outstanding throwing game teams that we had just seen.  I think that's where we – We talked at great length, but that information stays inside. What you saw and what we talked about in here and once you watched practice, was a group that was doing things better, felt like they were doing things better.  We went hard against the turnovers.  We talked in great detail about play(ing) together as a special teams unit, a defense and an offense, and then we knew that we would have to perform at a high level in all three areas.  We were able to do that.  I think some of the things that go unnoticed by you – For example, we rushed the ball for 155 yards, but we had excellent perimeter blocking, which we had talked about having to do.  Plaxico (Burress) was outstanding.  He did a super job out there.  Amani (Toomer) did a good job.  Tim Carter got involved in that.  Some of the little things, some of the details that you may not notice or associate with were done very well.
Q: A lot of your defensive players have said, specifically, ‘We got more simplified.'  Is that was it was?  Did you tear down some things to make them more basic on defense?
A: That's part of it.  It's part of it.  It wasn't so basic that we didn't contend with the team that we had to play.  Each time you play, you have to obviously design according to the strengths of the opponent, and we were able to recognize that we had to be more basic, more sound, perhaps choose our pressure situations wisely, if you will, the number of fire zones or all-out blitzes with coverage had to be really controlled.  We really needed to put people in the best possible positions that we could, so we again went back to a design that we thought would allow us to do that.
Q: Would you have been able to do that if it wasn't the bye week?
A: Yes, we would have done it anyway.  We would have done it.  Whether the result would have been appreciated immediately, I can't answer that for you, but it's the same thing you asked me last week in another area.  We'll have to see.
Q: Is this a temporary thing?
A: No.  It's not temporary.  It's the foundation, and then when you play each team you have to adjust according to what that team presents, problems-wise, and do a real good job in the area of adjustments.  That's where we'll remain, and hopefully we can build on that.
Q: At some point, it's going to go back to the things that were maybe a little more complex for these guys.  Are you confident they can handle it?
A: Maybe.  Maybe, and maybe not necessarily the same type of complexities.
Q: After the first pass Cooley caught – he was fairly open – after that most passes were contested.  Was that part of the-
A: Even Cooley's, the one, we had the defender close by, it's just that he was able to throw him off. 
Q: Is that a product of having guys in the right position, or are they playing differently within that?
A: No, they were in the right position, but they were playing…I think because the natural assertion here is that once a player gets to a position that he really understands and knows and then he becomes more instinctive, you see more of the athlete.  That's what I would hope prevailed.
Q: How did Brandon Short play?
A: Actually, he played OK.  He made some nice tackles, he did some good things.  He has a couple of things he wished he had done better, but he does bring an energy and a physical presence out there.  He is a football player.  He's been a good defender for a lot of years.  He was a nice fit.
Q: Is he ‘keeping the seat warm', or are you going to see how it goes when everyone is healthy?
A: Is he keeping the seat warm?
Q: Because he came in to start because (Carlos Emmons) was hurt.
A: We'll see.  How fast are we going to get back to where we were, and how much does he improve, and so on and so forth.  I've said it many times before – there are plenty of places to play good football players.
Q: Do you expect Emmons back in practice this week?
A: I'm not sure how that's going to go.
Q: Did I see Derrick Ward in uniform today?
A: Derrick Ward is going to do some running, but he is not going to get the green light to practice – yet.  He's going to change direction this week.  Last week, he ran straight ahead.  This week he's going to change direction.
Q: Any other injuries from the game?
A: No, not that are worth mentioning.
Q: Antonio Pierce was talking about the pass that he dropped, and said it's hard catching a pass with one hand.  How much is his hand hurting?
A: He has to wear some kind of an implement.  Do you think he would have caught it if he didn't have the…?
Q: If you get the worst-case scenario on Shockey, is Visanthe Shiancoe developed enough?
A: He's done well when he's been in the game.  He played well the other day.  He did some real good things.  He made a nice play from a real bad down-and-distance situation to get a first down.
Q: Has he developed in the other parts, too?
A: The blocking aspect of it – Yup.  He's improved.
Q:  Is this a hold-your-breath kind of thing with Shockey?
A: You never know.  Obviously, there is a need to do further research here, so he's doing, he's having the tests this afternoon.  And, quite frankly, to be honest with you, once the game was over and this process was designed, I've taken the position where I'm just going to think positive about it and wait to see.  That's the only response I can have.
Q: We made a big deal last year over Eli Manning's accuracy, and all of a sudden now he's at 67-point something percent.  I know over the summer you said you saw signs of that coming along.  Are you pleased with the way he's coming along during the regular season, and what do you attribute that quick rise to?
A: Growth, improvement, lining up and doing it again, working hard on the fundamentals that he knows are critical to having a high percentage, having the protection.  Yesterday we had no sacks.  We had some hits on the quarterback, but we didn't have any sacks.  I thought that he made a couple of outstanding throws into pressure.  He got hit on both of those post balls.  He got hit.  And he followed through and made the play down the field.  I thought those were outstanding, and the ball to Amani was outstanding on the sideline to give us a chance to go ahead and be in position there.
Q: Being 2-0 in the division right now, are there any thoughts of trying to keep on top of the others?
A: There's always an awareness of the division.  Unfortunately it's all about number of games won.  You have to be concerned with that.  We're happy that we're 2-0 in the division, but by the same token we realize that each game is a critical game, whether it's in the division or not.

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