Press Conference: Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin addressed the media. Here is the transcript:

Opening statement:

Good morning.  I had an opportunity to address our team this morning, yesterday as well, about the significance and importance of being in the playoffs, about the second season, about the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles are a very good football team.  They're in our division.  We know them very well (and) they know us very well.  These games are always extremely physical.  Our experience this year has been kind of a back and forth experience with us going to Philadelphia and winning early and them coming here and winning late.  What I did was spend a lot of time with our team this morning talking about this most recent game, because it was only a couple of weeks ago, and having an opportunity to talk about much of what I said to them Monday following that game and trying to come to some conclusions on how that game might have been turned in our favor.  It's an exciting week.  The energy is high, but we have good presence.  I think we have an attitude and obviously we have a lot to prove.  Obviously we're the underdog.  Those things all are very real.  They're something we can grasp.  We look forward to the opportunity to play in the game.  I think we'll have both feet on the ground.  We know it will be a very physical game.  That's what these NFC East, excuse me, playoff games are, and we look forward to that.

Q: What are your practice plans for Jeremy Shockey and Rich Seubert?

A: Seubert will practice today, Shockey will be on the side and will hopefully we able to work tomorrow.  We'll see.

Q: Is Shockey's ankle a lot better?

A: The swelling is down considerably from what it was last week.  He improves each day. We're just going to have to see about that.

Q: I assume he wants to play pretty badly.  Has he said anything to you about, ‘Coach, put me in?'?

A: He wants to play very badly, yeah.  I appreciate that question.  That brought me right back down a little bit.  Now my adrenaline is a little bit under control.

Q: The defense couldn't stop Philadelphia in the last game when it needed to.  Is that something where you feel like your were close, or do there need to be more adjustments there?

A: There has to be more adjustments made, obviously, and there has to be – There were mistakes that were made that have to be corrected.  But you know, in the final analysis, with 2:57 to play, it's 29-22 and we have the ball at the 20-yard line.  I'm probably not the only one – maybe I am the only one – but I'm thinking this game is going to overtime.  Despite that, that's part of the message this morning.  It was a back and forth game.  There were mistakes made on both sides of the ball.  I could give you a whole litany of things that I saw again, which if you look at your notes following the game, you'll know exactly what I would have said to them today.  But the fact of the matter is again, regardless of what it was, there was plenty of time for us and we were in position.

Q: Is the fact that you've won in Philadelphia already this season something you'll remind the team of?

A: Throughout the course of the week we'll talk about that.  We briefly touched on it yesterday, but again, being on the road and having some success on the road, we have experienced that this year, to a certain extent.  Again, it is the playoffs.  It is a road game, but we're excited about the opportunity.

Q: This might have been the case anyway, but especially given Tiki Barber's game in Washington, will you expect them to jam the box and put the game on Eli Manning, and what makes you confident he will be able to handle that?

A: Well, I think he will, and I think that will be part of our preparation, obviously.  With the Eagles it's always a pressure game.  They're going to come – you know that.  That's their style.  That's their M.O., and we have to be very much aware of that and of course be at our best under those pressure situations.  I hope we have that kind of a week of practice and have some – we have to have diversity in our attack, there's no doubt.  (We have to) get the ball spread around some, take our chances down the field, as we will.  Last week we did have some success into the pressure with the run game and I'm sure that's being evaluated right now.

Q: Do you think last year's playoff game weighs on Eli at all?

A: I don't think (so). We've referred to that only in terms of our approach and the intensity with which we practice, the speed with which we practice.  I think each individual will look at their part in that.  Obviously the conclusion has been made and we've made the statement – and the players have made the statement: we certainly don't want that kind of a feeling ever again.

Q: What does it mean to you and your defense to have a healthy Antonio Pierce on the field for these playoffs as opposed to last season when he was hurt?

A: Obviously it's a guy we very much need in the middle directing traffic.  (He's a) very, very competitive guy who we can count on to be a solidifier, if you will, on the field.  The fact that he's there is a huge plus.  We just have to play better.  We have to play better and I think I mentioned to you the other day that when we made some of the stops in the first half the other night, that was a real plus for our entire team.  I think our team fed off those moments and hopefully we'll have more of those.

Q: When you talk to Tim Lewis about your defensive approach, and that you have no pressure with four guys in there.  I know you don't want to give up the big plays, but does something have to change there?

A: Well, you do and it's not that we don't bring people.  But when you bring people somebody has to get home.  Your whole idea is to get people isolated where there's no help and then someone has to come free, and that's basically what has to happen.  There are many occasions where we're bringing five or bringing six, but we're not getting home and it's giving the quarterback all kinds of time back there.  Obviously this would have to change.

Q: Can you be confident at all this defense can contain Jeff Garcia?

A: When you look at their offensive team, they're a very productive offensive team.  There's a certain amount of that, but I just looked at the game – the most recent game – and the games that have followed, and I look at that and say to myself how could this have been changed?  What could be different about this?  It's kind of the same thing I did with the coaches this week.  The very first time I met with them, I had the key plays of the game and I had already gone back to the post-game analysis and looked at it and presented to them once again, what could we have done different(ly) to change these situations around?  I think that's where we are right now.  It's, as you know, it's a chess game and a cat-and-mouse thing and you hit some and you don't hit some, but you'd like to think we could hit a bit more than we did the last time we played.

Q: It's rare that a team can go far in the playoffs without a productive quarterback.  What do you think Eli took out of last year's game and based on how he's played in the last month, do you think he can he step it up?

A: I do.  I really do, and I think you're a few plays away from, even the other night, of having a big night. I think it's not fair totally to put it just on the quarterback.  I think we could have helped him a lot, in terms of our patterns and route-running, the pressure situations with people dragging on our backs and things of that nature, creating separation.  I think that has to happen a little bit more and I think certainly we have to make decisive decisions and get the ball with accuracy to people who are open.  So I think all of those things prevail.  I think he's constantly aware of that.  We had a discussion yesterday about this preparation and going into this game and so-forth, and the Philadelphia game a couple of weeks ago.  I'm very, very confident he will have an exceptional week and that he knows exactly what it's going to take to win, because we've obviously been there before with this team.  If you'll remember, even in Philadelphia he stepped up into pressure and made a great throw to win that game.  Hopefully we'll be able to do that again.

Q: Even though the playoff game from last year was not a positive experience, can he benefit from—

A: Yes.  Yes, he can.  He can look at that, he can draw from it.  He can…Just his thoughts about it.  I wouldn't send him back looking at that game for obvious reasons – nor any of us.  But he can draw upon that and we've referenced that this morning.

Q: The Eagles are obviously feeling very good, maybe even invincible, coming into the playoffs on the streak they've had.  Is that a higher motivation than coming in as an underdog?

A: I think that whatever their position is, they've earned it.  They've won five in a row.  They are the NFC East champions.  They're a good football team and they deserve that spot.  But that doesn't take anything away from our team and the games we've had against them and the competitive nature of these games, and the competitive nature of the individuals as they prepare for this game.  They have many good football players in Philadelphia.  We have many good football players here.

Q: Which injury led you to put Corey Webster on IR?

A: The combination.  It was the combination.

Q: Did he tear or break anything on the hip?

A: No, no.  It's a continuous issue that he's had (that) again refocused or resurfaced the other day.  The doctors made the decision that he couldn't be at his best out on the field and so the decision was made to go ahead and begin to move towards the procedure.

Q: If Seubert plays at guard and I assume David Diehl would be at left tackle, is that your best five guys?

A: We're going to have to see how Rich is.  Rich has not played in awhile.  I thought Grey (Reugamer) played well the other night.  We're fortunate enough to have the two guys.  I think that we'll see throughout the course of the week how Rich is going to come back from a practice and whether or not he's able to turn around and go right again.  So we'll just judge that as we go.

Q: What about Diehl at left tackle?  It looked like he did a good job the other night.

A: Very much so.  He played well the other night.  He's going to play against a very, very competitive, outstanding player again this week.  He's just going to have to draw upon that experience and whatever help we can give him.

Q: With the Eagles you always hear the phrase "Jim Johnson defense".  What is a Jim Johnson defense in your mind?

A: Well, it's an aggressive defensive style.  There's always something new and different for you.  You might play a game and have, for example, 15 or 16 pressures in that game (and have) 10 of them – 10 different types.  There's not any one specific thing that you can zoom in on.  It's just the pressure package, but it's also an aggressive defensive front (that) plays very well, for example, on the goal line (and) plays very well in short-yardage.  So I think that they've overcome some things – the Kearse injury, obviously. They have played a lot of close games that they were able to win once Garcia got in the games and got his feet on the ground.  You saw that (when) Garcia came into the Tennessee game and really had an awful lot of yardage.  They just couldn't overcome a big lead.  The next week it was the Indianapolis experience and they didn't win that one, but from that point on they've played well and he's played well. 

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