Coach's Corner

After having an opportunity to look at the game tapes, Giants coach Tom Coughlin reflected on New York's fourth consecutive victory.

Any injuries that you know of?
I really don't even have a report yet. The players (weren't) in until 1:00 p.m. for the medical so I don't have anything upstairs yet. I know that the ankle with (Derrick) Ward was an issue again and I really don't know if there is anything else. I am sure there are some bruises and some minor things, but I am not sure if there is anything else.

Can you explain what is happening with Aaron Ross? This is the second time he has left a game with cramps?
I wish I could ,but I really can't. The first time it was a little bit unusual obviously because of the number of snaps. This time we knew and we talked about it that we would be playing in a dome and that hydration was a major issue. We do have to be very careful and make sure that we are hydrated going in and he obviously has a little issue with that. We will continue to work with him and try to find a way to solve it.

Do you see anything that Eli is doing on the poor throws that are intercepted? Is he losing his focus?
No, I don't know if it is that. On the one, I told you that I am taking responsibility for the one before the half. The whole thing was really not conducted the way it should have been. He threw the ball; therefore, he is the one that gets credit for the interception, but I am taking the interception, it was mine. I think the second one he just launched the long ball down the sideline. He had read the coverage, he had checked to a prepared audible, and everyone was on the same page. Amani (Toomer) said he lost the ball in the lights and obviously there was a great play made by (DeAngelo) Hall, the interception, but that one was something that if we make the tackle down there, it isn't going to look as dangerous as when he is running up the sideline obviously. We don't want to turn it over, we don't want to throw the interceptions, and we are working hard to not do that. You talk about the first half and I think he had 12 straight completions and was very, very accurate and very, very sharp. The two-minute without any timeouts interception I am taking responsibility for. The audible one I expected the ball to go in one of the seams and they carried the seam, so the ball ended up going outside.

The early part of this season and the early part of last season seem similar, starting off slowly and then going on a winning streak. Can you describe the differences and what might make the team more conducive to winning this year?
I just think that the players have been very supportive of each other. There is a very good sense of responsibility, leadership is doing a good job, there is a solid feeling in the locker room that if we stick together and everybody does their job, we can win. Those are the things that are prevailing.

How much has the solid play of the offensive line allowed you to open up the playbook a little bit?
That is where it starts. It starts up front. It is a product of being able to feel good about the mixture of run and pass that we have been able to do some other things. The beautiful long post ball from Eli to Plaxico (Burress), obviously you can't do something like that unless you sell the run and then have outstanding protection, which we did have. The offensive line by and large is playing solid, solid football and that is where it starts.

Do you feel pretty good about where you stand in the division and the conference this early in the season?
I think what we try to do every week is to just be, like I told the players on Sunday night, the only thing we can control is the way we play, what we are able to accomplish, how we prepare, how we focus, and as we go into each game, the importance of each game and the critical importance of continuing to win to be able to be in some kind of position at some point during the year with an awful long way to go. Obviously you are aware of what is happening in our division because you have to be and hopefully it will come down to a hard-fought race.

Are you frustrated that you have to change the style of your kickoffs when you are not getting the depth on them?
I think that if you look around the league, you are forced to do that with some of the great return people that we are facing week-in and week-out with the speed and the execution. I think it requires that you do something to disrupt the timing of the return. It may be that those kicks are not pretty to the eye but they do cause adjustments on the part of the scheme in order to react to one, to where the ball is and two, the difference in depth between the return man and the wedge or the scheme. You do have to be able to do that and even though the field position was not necessarily what you would want, and you don't want to put your defense at the 35, it is better than the result of long kickoff returns for a touchdown. You saw Norwood on one play from scrimmage go 67. That would not be the first time he would have ever taken a kick back that far with a 76-yarder the week before. I think you just have to be able to be aware of who the returner is, what you are facing, what their scheme is, how good they are at it, and then you do have to be able to maneuver the ball around. I thought that the mortar kicks that we attempted to utilize as a strategy were good thoughts, the squib kick got us into good position a couple of times, and we did drive the ball one time and got in position where we made the play. I don't think you can do just done thing but by virtue of changing up some of these kicks we are giving ourselves a little bit better chance to control the outstanding return game.

On the 12 straight completions by Eli, how many of those plays were plays that he might have called at the line? How much does that tell you about how far he has come as a quarterback to be able to complete 12 in a row?
The majority of those plays in the first and second quarter came from the sideline. There may have been one or two that were adjusted. He actually did an outstanding job once again in the one drive where we were facing blitz, blitz, blitz late in the game when Reuben (Droughns) made his long run. Those were all run audibles so he has done an excellent job consistently with that. With the protection being what it is, his confidence level is up. We hit the 12 in a row and he may have adjusted some of them, but his accuracy was outstanding.

What happened defensively on the first two series? It seems like the defense got together after that?
I don't know if we got together. You make the adjustments, you notice the style of play, and you react to how the other guy is playing. We got hurt by the long run and one of the things that we have been able to do as a team is come right back and line up and play the next time and realize that that play is over and there is nothing you can do about that now, let's move forward. I think we just kept making the necessary adjustments, recognizing the positions that we were in, and played better football. I think that there were actually three sudden-change situations. The two that I talk about are the first two. I think the ability to go on the field in those situations and force the other guy to go three-and-out, those were exceptional defensive plays which really stated very strongly to everyone on our team that, you know what, we do have the ability to bail ourselves out if we do make mistakes. Not that we ever want to make a mistake, but it is a confidence boost.

Antonio Pierce said the team is going in with an attitude that you are still 0-2. Is that an attitude that you like and one that you try to foster?
I think it is. We do talk about and we do have a sign which says, ‘prepare, practice, and play as if you lost your last game,' and I think that mentality kind of says it all. You never can be satisfied. It is a constant attempt to keep the bar high and to really run the race against yourself. Practice and play to meet a standard that you set for yourself. I think that is something that we have constantly tried to make our players understand downstairs and we have to keep doing that.

Amani Toomer sets the Giants' record last night and in addition has a very good bounce-back game; do you continue to see him as a real impact player?
There is no question about that. When you say bounce-back, we just didn't get him the ball (last week against the Jets). It is not as if he did something wrong. We just weren't able to get him the ball by virtue of whatever. The coverage went that way, the progression didn't take it as far, whatever you want to say about it, but he has done that many times in the time that I have been here, where he has gone from a game where he had maybe one catch or whatever and then he turns around and has a solid, solid performance which he did last night. I think one of the things that was really good on the part of our offense and our play-calling last night was that in that first quarter, when we were so interested in starting faster than we had started really literally all year, the ball got moved around to everybody and there were a lot of people contributing. That was a good sign.

You have been able to run the ball quite well in the second half of the past two games with your two or three big backs. Is that something that you really want to take pride in? That you can wear down the other team by grinding it out with your big backs?
I don't know that it was a wear-down thing; it is just a strength of ours that we have to continue to develop. I think the one thing that always frustrates me about the inability, if you will, to be successful in those two-minute things or whatever right there at the end of the half is that they are so predictable. The ball has to be thrown in order to get where you want to go otherwise you don't have enough time to put yourself in position. While we will continue to work on that we are so much better when we have a good mixture of run and pass. That is something that we seem to come back out after the half and obviously by virtue of how things are set up and utilized we make a strong statement about that mixture.

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