Press Confernece: Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin addressed the media today. Here are the questions that were asked:

Opening statement
Good afternoon. Last night when asked about the game I didn't have a lot of great answers for you.  I apologize for that.  But I do have today.  Having looked at the tape…You know, you get the game into the fourth quarter, which we always talk about – get the game into the fourth quarter with a chance to win – and at 13 minutes and some-odd seconds, we're ahead in the game, 21-0.  We knew going in that the Tennessee team had scored 12 offensive touchdowns in the previous seven games, and they really relied on special teams, they relied on defense to give them a boost, give them a momentum change.  If you looked at the Philadelphia game or the Houston game, you saw exactly what I'm talking about.  From that point on, we knew going in that we could not afford to give them anything.  We could not get them started, we couldn't give them a punt return that they had fashioned in a couple of games.  We could not give them a turnover (and) allow them to build on something – we knew that.  But from that 13 minute point on, that's what we did.  We turned the ball over to them – they scored.  They had a punt returned – a 23-yard punt return to our 36-yard line – they scored.  We did punt a ball and they had to drive the length of the field.  As you know, there were two fourth downs involved in those drives as well that we were not able to stop them.  And at the end of the game, the turnover gave them the field goal which beat us.  In the first half we got two turnovers from them, and they were converted right into scores.  We had plenty of opportunities to win the game.  We did not do that.  We left some plays on the field, as we talked about last week.  Instead of making plays, we did not make plays and we put ourselves in a position where we had played very well, had played very smart, had been in a good position to finish the game, if you will, but we just did not get that done.  So it's simple, in terms of not making the plays necessary to win, not finishing the game.  We talked about it at halftime, about finishing the game.  Finish the game properly.  Win the game, finish the game.  And we were not able to do that.  And any number of plays could have done that.  I didn't mention the fourth down and three that had we converted would have given us the ball longer and take time off the other end of the clock, the other end of the quarter for the Tennessee team.  So there were any number of plays in the game.  We made two outstanding plays before the half to keep them out of the end zone and they missed a field goal, which reinforced the way we played.  We made the bad foul on our punt that was out of bounds at the one.  Who knows what's going to happen when somebody tries to drive the ball out of the end zone.  We made a bad penalty there, which didn't help us.  It didn't turn into points, but it certainly turned into field position.  It was any number of things I felt we could have done to help us secure a win last night.  We did not finish the game off and we contributed, obviously, to it by virtue of the two fourth-down plays, the interceptions and our inability to convert the fourth-and-three at the top of the fourth quarter.  We had the ball for 12 minutes and eight seconds of the third quarter without scoring a point.  You would think with a time of possession of that nature that something good would have happened, point-wise, but it didn't. 
Q: How do you rally the team and get them to play smarter football?  It seems like there are a lot of things happening on the field that are not smart.
A: To me, it's all about controlling the game and playing the game the way you want to play it so that you don't get yourself into that situation.  We do an awful lot with situations and circumstances.  As I said, the ‘smart' question might not even come up if a couple of these things happen: if we make the plays on fourth down that we had opportunities to make, or if we convert on the fourth and three.
Q: How do you rally the team from such an emotional loss to now face Dallas?
A: I think we'll rally.  I think we'll rally.  This is a big game, a divisional game.  Let's face it – not a lot has changed now.  This is a huge football game for us, obviously.  (If) we win the game, we have the lead in the division.  We're playing the Dallas Cowboys, we're playing them at home.  They're a very good football team – we know that.  I think that the challenge is clearly there.  I think that our team has a sense that there are things that we have and haven't been doing well, and we need to do them well and we need to do them well in a hurry.  Hopefully that kind of intensity will help as well.
Q: Is the team's morale OK after a game like that?
A: I don't know if anyone's morale is okay after a defeat like that.  You're down, you're low – it hurts.  It feels like somebody cut your heart out, let's face it.  But we have a big game this week and it's all right to – Obviously, I want them to hurt.  I want it to hurt and that's what I told them this morning – it'd better hurt.  It'd better hurt, but we have to soon move past it, because we have to be about the business of moving forward. 
Q: After you spoke to the team today, some of the players had their own meeting.  What would you hope that they would get out of that or accomplish from that?
A: They had come to me (with) the idea that they wanted to meet and they assured me that it would be conducted in a positive way, and that's all I knew about it.  I have faith in the guys that asked if they could have the meeting and so I'm sure it was a very positive thing – trying to call all of the players to be – to think like one, prepare like one and play like one.
Q: Who were the guys that stepped forward?
A: There were a number of guys that asked.
Q: You were pretty vocal about Eli Manning's decision after the game.-
A: Which decision?
Q: The interception at the end of the game.  Did you talk to him today --
A: Yeah, we had a talk today.  Sure.
Q: How is your confidence in him now?
A: My confidence is very strong.  Very strong in him.  I just think there are things along the way that you have to learn, and there are things that you have to be able to understand even in situations like that.  If you don't like it, throw it away.  We'll line up for the next down.  Just understand the situation that you're in, understand the circumstances.  At that point in time, we have 44 seconds when we have the ball.  We want to move into field goal range if we can, but if we don't, we certainly don't want to throw the ball into their hands.  So you try and make sure that there is always an experience, a learning experience, and you have to take whatever you can from it – Hopefully not to ever happen again.
Q: The 4th-and-3 – did you consider a field goal?
A: No.
Q: Why not?
A: Because it was too long.
Q: 49?
A: 49 yards.
Q: For Jay Feely?
A: Our pre-game direction was that that was too long.
Q: Was there wind?
A: There was a little bit of wind, yep.
Q: It's no secret that when things don't go well, the scorn falls on the coach and the quarterback.
A: Naturally.
Q: Do you feel any more pressure about your long-term prospects now than you did before, or any more than usual?
A: I don't think about that.  I think about what can I do to help us win.  That's all I think about. 
Q: Has there been any message from your bosses?
A: There are a lot of people who had their heart in their mouth and then the entire Giants organization is upset – and should be.  I don't understand what that has to do with anything here.
Q: What about Kiwanuka, a young, talented player who made a mistake.  Did you say anything to him today about it?
A: I talked to him just briefly.  We had a chance to visit after the game, as well as right at that moment.
Q: You said yesterday on the first interception the ball wasn't supposed to go there?
A: Well, the ball was supposed to go there once they showed up in the defense that they were in.  They came up and pressed us and blitzed us, and that's what we've been doing since day one in training camp.  That's where Eli was to go with the ball in that circumstance, and that's where he went.
Q: The TV cameras showed you going at Kiwanuka pretty hard after the non-sack.  Did you talk about that at all?
A: No, I didn't because that was an act of emotion, obviously.  You're not going to get a stuffed shirt on the sideline when you get me.  That's all there is to it.  I'm going to be animated.  We all win, we all lose.  That was such a critical play. It was just difficult for me to understand how it took place.
Q: The last time you played Dallas you were going in different directions.  Now you're on a three-game losing streak and Tony Romo has done really well.  How do you think the momentum of the two teams will carry into this game?
A: The only thing I'm worried about is our team.  I'm aware of the scores, and so on and so forth.  I haven't really started on them yet, which I'll do shortly, but I know that they're playing well.  But my concern is with our team.
Q: Do you know exactly what the penalty was on Frank Walker?
A: It was called, I believe,  unnecessary roughness.
Q: Was it for the elbow, the forearm, or the out-of-bounds?
A: I don't know exactly what it was.
Q: Did you agree with the play?
A: If you hit a quarterback in the helmet, the way the rule stands today, then you're going to get penalized.  Now I have not clarified it and I have not asked this morning exactly what the call would be.
Q: Does that mitigate what happened at the end?  You obviously want to try to avoid another penalty…
A: You know, I didn't…I think that was his explanation for it.  It's just unfortunate.  I think in that situation, if that's crossing your mind, you really need to hang on for dear life and get the whistle blown.
Q: Have you given any consideration whatsoever to either taking over the play-calling or doing that in certain spots in the game?
A: I've not done that, no.  I really don't think that's an issue.  I know you all want to zoom in on that one play.  There's a bunch of plays in the game that were extremely well called and well dialed up, etc., etc.  I'm involved in it and I certainly have my two cents, both during the series and in between series.  But I really don't think that's the issue.
Q: On first-and-10 with 5:24 to go, you had Eli roll and called that pass to Visanthe Shiancoe.  In that situation, isn't the clock your best friend?
A: Well, that was a naked, which has been very good for us.  (It's) the same play that was thrown to (Jeremy) Shockey before earlier in the game.  It looks exactly like a run, sounds like a run, is played like a run, gives you a chance for an opportunity for a very high-percentage throw and catch to the tight end and advance up the field.  They played it well.
Q: Can you zoom in on that play, when it was second-and-four? You get six yards running on the first down, and then you go with an empty backfield.
A: We didn't.  We motioned back in.
Q: Was that a pass-play that went wrong?
A: Oh yeah, that was a pass-play.
Q: Why not just keep running?
A: Well, why not run every play or why not pass every play?  You're going to have a mix.  You're going to have a mix. Whether you disagree with or agree with the call, you're going to see throughout any game a mixture of run and pass, no matter what the circumstance is.  Perhaps you're trying to catch an opportunity that you've seen to take advantage of the coverage.  For us, that play is a very, very high-percentage play.  Maybe the highest percentage play in our offense.
Q: You mentioned last night that with 40 seconds to go, you weren't going to sit on the ball – you were trying to win the game.  After Eli's interception – you still say you have great confidence in him, but do you maybe have to start thinking about maybe having less confidence in him?  That was a proactive move you made with him --
A: Yeah, and I want to stay that way, to be honest with you.  It is the same guy that played at Philadelphia.  We have to eliminate those plays, without a doubt.  You're not going to win making those kinds of plays and we've got to eliminate them.  But you also have to realize that there are certain circumstances in the game when you have to put the game in the hands of the quarterback or, if the clock requires it, you have to make things happen in a short amount of time.  And because of the distance that you have to travel, that's what you do.  I think if you start dealing in that, you start to take situations away from yourself.  I just don't see that.  I think we've played well in those circumstances.  Eli has done some great things with the two-minute offense, really, over the years.  I think he'll once again do well with the two-minute offense.
Q: Did you specifically tell him before that series, ‘Look, we're tied here.  Don't do anything crazy?'
A: I specifically told him that we were trying to be in a position to win the game, but obviously we didn't want to give the ball to them.
Q: You mentioned Manning is the same guy, but he looks, body language-wise, like he's getting frustrated.  Is he lacking confidence here lately?
A: I don't know that.  I certainly hope not.  It's nothing that I don't think a little success wouldn't help.
Q: Do you talk to him about not showing his frustration on the field the way he has?
A: I have talked to him about that.  He normally doesn't show much, now.  There's not much one way or the other.  He has shown a little bit of that in the last couple of weeks.
Q: That's what I'm saying – Why all of a sudden?
A: Probably because of the word you're talking about – frustration.  He is human, he is young.
Q: As a coach, every loss is upsetting, but does this loss stand out?
A: Yeah, but I'm going to move on just like all of you are.  I said that last night.  I'm sure I'll remember this game, but I can't afford to just sit around and dwell on it.  That's not going to happen.  It's a game we should have won.  We didn't win, and I'm responsible for that.  We'll move forward.
Q: Are you expecting any of the five guys you left home to be back at practice this week?
A: We're looking to have Osi (Umenyiora) and Brandon Short.  We're looking to advance Michael Strahan and we'll see how he does.  (Corey) Webster, we really aren't going…We'll know more Wednesday, probably, than we do today.
Q: By ‘advance Strahan,' do you mean individual drills?
A: Yeah, that's what I mean, is we're going to advance him along here and see where he is.  We'll adjust to whatever we feel like he's capable of doing.
Q: Will you try to push some of these guys a little more because of the importance of this game?
A: The only way that we push anybody is when the medical people say, ‘Go ahead, he's ready to go.'  That's it.  Obviously you've seen us a long time without some people.  If the doctors tell us that the player is ready to play, then we will advance them.
Q: On the first interception, were you unhappy with how Plaxico Burress played on that?
A: Yes.
Q: What, specifically, did you see that you were unhappy with?
A: I think he, for whatever reason, he thought the ball was over his head and he stopped running.  And then didn't make the tackle.
Q: Does that have to be addressed at this point?
A: Yes, and it's been addressed.
Q: Tiki Barber left the game a few times and got a little banged up.  Did he come out of the game OK?
A: Yes. Yeah.
Q: Jason Bell fractured his arm but thinks he's still going to play – Is that realistic?
A: Well, we'll see.  They're going to come up with a device they hope will allow that bone to stay in one piece.  He played pretty much the whole game like that.
Q: Even though the Cowboys are hot and playing very well, is it good to have them now because it's an easy game to get up for?
A: We've gone…I mean, the Chicago game, the Monday night game…We've had good football teams right in front of us with outstanding information, if you will, and understanding of that particular team and what we had to do to win.  Teams that may not have been divisional opponents.  We're back to playing a divisional opponent.  It certainly gets your attention – no doubt.
Q: After the Kiwanuka play, the Titans still had to go 57 yards.  Did your team lose its poise there?  Vince Young had to make three passes…
A:  He just went.  He just went first-and-10, second-and-10, third-and-10 with three incomplete passes just as well.  I don't think the word is ‘poise'.  I think maybe they got a big boost out of the play that he made to put them from deep in their territory up to midfield.  And then the very first play – he rolled out, then he hit the flag, or the seven route on the sideline for another big play.  They executed pretty well right there and we didn't stop them.  I don't know about ‘poise'.
Q: A lot of your players put the mistakes they made on themselves because you don't wear pads and you can't be out there with them.  What do you put on yourself?
A: I wear it heavily.  I've always been that way.  It's my responsibility.  I have to find a way for us to win and when we don't win, the brunt of the responsibility goes right here.  It doesn't go anyplace else – right here.
A: What about him?
Q: Is that finger going to affect him this week?
A: I don't expect it to.

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