Press Conference: Tom Coughlin

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

Q: What's the update on Osi Umenyiora?
A: He's having an MRI this afternoon and we won't know until after that.
Q: Were there any other injuries of note in the game?
A: LaVar (Arrington) is having an MRI and (Justin) Tuck is having an MRI on his foot.
Q: Are there any ramifications from Tiki Barber's hit, or is he fine?
A: He seemed to be fine.
Q: Is the MRI on Arrington just to confirm, or is there a possibility it wasn't completely torn?
A: No.  Well, they're very confident – I shouldn't say that – they're very sure of what it is, but of course they're going to do all of the tests.
A: Frank Walker has a hamstring strain, and it's probably going to be day-to-day.
Q: I know you said Umenyiora is getting an MRI.  Do you think this could be a lengthy thing?
A: I have no idea.  I know that he's very sore, and hopefully it will be a minimal amount of time, but I'm really not sure.
Q: Do you have a plan in mind on how you're going to compensate for the loss of Arrington?
A: We're working on that and talking about that.  I'll have something for you.
Q: Given that Arrington was coming on, how concerned are you about filling that spot now?
A: Very concerned.  As we were indicating each week, LaVar kept playing a little better, getting more comfortable in the scheme (and) looked like he was moving better.  He had practiced every day for the last two weeks and not missed a practice.  He was feeling pretty good about himself and felt like he was real aware of the responsibilities within the various coverages and the rushes that he had.  I am definitely concerned, but I think more than that I feel very badly for him, and we all do.  Here's a guy who realized that he had a great opportunity and there's an awful lot of questions about where he had been, what range of ability he had, and he was trying to answer all of those questions.  He was playing hard and he was trying to get to a point where he was making a statement about his ability.  As a team, we were excited about having him.  And then he's injured and he's gone.  It's not a happy occasion when that happens.  I think you have to feel badly for the player.
Q: Did you sense also, given the role he has in the locker room, that the team almost seemed to sag back a little bit on that drive when he went out?
A: I think that happens.  I know that there's a psychological downer, if you will, whenever something like that happens and someone has to be removed from the field.  There are a lot of questions about their health, how they feel and the extent of the injury.  But right away – we knew.
Q: This is the second straight year that it's taken the defense three games to hit its stride.  Is that just a coincidence, or is there something in that as far as the time it takes to mold?
A: I don't know that there's anything there except a coincidence.  I'm not sure of that having any significance at all.  I think we're playing more recklessly now.  I think we're playing with speed.  I think we're physical.  I think we take great pride in what we're doing, and I think just in watching the demeanor, the players are conducting themselves on the field with energy.  I think it's obvious that some good things are going on, and what that has to do with any other year, I wouldn't even attempt to guess.
Q: Obviously we saw last year what happened when injuries began to pile up.  Are you convinced that you have better depth this year that you can withstand the loss of LaVar?
A: We'll see. Any time you take a quality player out, it's not good, because it's difficult to replace these people.  But we have good players here, and they're going to have to.  We're going to have to rise up and guys are going to have to take the position and play well and allow us to continue.
Q: How close is Carlos Emmons to being able to come back and play in a game?
A: I'm hoping he's ready to come back right now.  He's had a week of padded work and this will be his second week, so certainly the timing is right. 
Q: How important when dealing with injuries is it to have built up a lead in the division?
A: Injuries happen in this game, and for everybody to take the gloom and doom approach is not…It's not the way that we're going to approach it, I can tell you that right now.  It's early in the season.  We just completed our seventh week – there's a long way to go.  Every win is an important win, and every man who is on your team has a specific job, a contribution, a strong contribution to make, a responsibility – whether or not they're taking mental reps or actually playing in the game at that position – to improve and to be prepared and ready to go if indeed called upon.  Because that's part of the responsibility of being a good teammate, is to not let the other guys down.  We'll see to what extent we can continue to move forward.  I certainly do – We all do feel badly for LaVar, but we also know that we have to move forward.
Q: If Emmons is ready to go, does he move to the strong side?
A: I'm not going to say anything or speculate where anybody goes until I've had a good opportunity to discuss it.
Q: Could he, though?  He started there last year.
A: He has played both sides.
Q: Are those two sides fairly interchangeable?
A: No.  Not really.  Some of it is --when the defenses are called that provide for them both being off the ball, they're similar.  But normally not when one is on the line of scrimmage and the other is off.  As I said, we interchange them throughout the course of training camp, throughout the course of…They have to be ready to go, one side or the other.  Each individual has played both positions or tried to play two positions, anyway, as you come out of camp.  There is some work that has been done there.
Q: Because of the way Mathias Kiwanuka moves, could he possibly be a replacement, if conditions were right?
A: There's no sense in speculating on that right now.  We don't know the status of two of our other defensive ends.
Q: You had a lot of new guys cycling in last night.  How did you feel with guys like Kiwanuka playing a lot of snaps-
A: Oh, I like that.  They've had good practices and have always been involved.  That's one thing about defensively—there's been lots of substitutions and practice time spent on bringing along a lot of people. There certainly was an occasion to be able to cash in on that last night.
Q: Some of the characterizations said the team has turned things around and is playing better now.  Do you think that's an accurate portrayal of these last few games?
A: Well, there isn't any question.  Starting with the Washington game, we did play better.  We played better because we played very well on defense.  We didn't give anything up.  It pretty much started there, and so for the last three weeks we've played very well.  We've been able to compliment each other, and all three phases have played what I've been characterizing as ‘Giant football'.
Q: Was the Seattle game a low point?
A: It certainly wasn't a high point.
Q: One of the quotes from Antonio Pierce said he thinks the defense and the whole team should continue to play with that attitude, like they are underdogs.
A: There's no question about that.  There isn't any question in my mind that what's most important is a team which has an attitude toward itself that indicates that improvement is a very, very important thing.  And, of course, winning and the pursuit of championships.  Those are the things that are important, and you can never – Really, what you'd like to do is take the good from each game experience and then recognize that there are many areas that need improvement and apply yourself to that improvement.  Always with the sting of – We have a slogan that we use, which is, ‘Prepare in practice as if you've lost your last game.'  I think that kind of puts it into perspective for where I like the mental of this thing to be, and the physical part of it to be, is to continue to be smart about addressing the next opponent and, again, taking the good from the game that you've just completed, but understanding that, certainly, you're not entitled to anything because of what you did yesterday.  If you're sitting around wondering about what you did yesterday, you certainly haven't done a whole lot about today.
Q: I know you're going to take each of the games coming up individually, but can you just speak to the rarity of having three straight home games?
A: I wouldn't even be able to tell you last week who was beyond the Tampa Bay game.  That's kind of the way I'm going to keep it.  For us, it's a matter of 10 one-game schedules.  Tampa Bay is the next game, and they're certainly worthy of every ounce of preparation and every ounce of study that we can put into it.  We're coming off a Monday night game.  It's a short week and we have an awful lot of work to do.  We're very glad and very thankful that we're going to be at home, and we certainly look forward to playing in front of our home crowd again – Giants Stadium full of Giants fans.  We're going to need that kind of energy and motivation this weekend and that's where it is for me.  The fact that we are at home is a good thing, and hopefully the 12th man will provide us with that continuous spark.
Q: Matt Bryant made the kick of his life, obviously, on Sunday to beat the Eagles.  Just to go back for a second, do you recall if your concerns with him were basically his inability to stay on the field because of his hamstrings, or based on his accuracy or length of kicks?
A: No, I think it was the injury factor more than anything else, as I recall.
Q: There seemed to be a couple of plays where horse-collar tackles were not called again.
A: The official comment on the one on Tiki was that in order to call the horse-collar tackle, the runner has to be immediately yanked off his feet.  Of course, that wasn't the case last night with the run that Tiki had, in that there were a few yards or whatever where they were engaged before he actually came down.  That's the interpretation.  We certainly felt that there was a back of the shirt kind of position that was taken, but I guess because of the fact that it wasn't immediate that the runner lost his footing, the call wasn't made.
Q: But now you've seen it four or five times since they put this rule in, and it's never been called.  Do you feel like they maybe need to look at the rule again in a different way because it seems to just be open to too much interpretation?
A: They spent two years on this year.  The first year that the rule was in effect, they made an arbitrary decision, from where I'm sitting, that they weren't going to call it.  This year, this is the first time that I had heard that interpretation, but that's the way it's being officiated.  The officials, to their credit, they knew exactly how it was interpreted.  They were willing to volunteer to me exactly what – how the rule is enforced.
Q: With Tuck, was it his foot or his ankle?
A: It's his foot.  He has a swollen foot.
Q: You not only defeated the Cowboys pretty soundly, but you also seemed to leave them in disarray with their quarterback situation and now they have three road games.  Was last night's victory maybe more than just one win, as far as the impact it could have on the division race?
A: I hadn't even thought about that.  As I said, there are many games to play.  They're a good football team.  They're well-coached, and they will make the best of whatever they have to.  This race is a most difficult one, and I wouldn't even speculate on anything except trying to get ourselves ready for the next game. 
Q: How did Reggie Torbor play last night?
A: He played pretty well.  He did a nice job on (special) teams, he did a nice job when he was in there at the linebacker spot.

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