Monday Mourning QB

Tom Coughlin and the Giants were still reeling on Monday from their disappointing 31-20 loss to Dallas, which essentially knocked the Giants out of the NFC East race with seven games to play. Here's what Coach Coughlin had to say:

What happened on the field goal when Lawrence Tynes came out late?
He was kicking over at the net. Usually the bell rings, but fortunately for us we did have a timeout.

Did you think about challenging the first touchdown where Tony Romo might have been over the line of scrimmage?
No, I saw it pretty clearly and we talked about it and upstairs confirmed that he wasn't over the line so we didn't.

And after watching it on tape you didn't think he was over the line?
Your foot has to be down.

What are your thoughts on the two holding calls?
You know what, I can't go over that stuff. I just think that they were both extremely unfortunate and I don't want anyone to think that there are excuses here. I just don't agree with the call on the touchdown run at all and I will send that in, but I am not going to send the other one (on Bradshaw's kickoff return) in.

The touchdown run with Jacobs?
That is what you are referring to, yes.

How did you talk to the rookies about the mistakes?
I told them today, I said, ‘Look we are going to look at the tape and we are going to make all the corrections. We are going to make sure everybody understands exactly what happened, but in no way are we ever, in any way, shape, or form, going to take away from the aggressiveness of any player.' Michael Johnson is an extremely aggressive football player. Even the personal foul that he had, yeah, you could say it was late, but there were a few more of those in the game that weren't called that were just as late and maybe even more late than that one was. I don't want to take away from the kid's aggressiveness because he is an aggressive football player. He just needs to see more, play more, and see the big picture. As I said today to everyone in the room, what I want for these guys is to experience winning, but it is more than just the desire to win and the preparation. You have to understand that in the course of a game you have to take into consideration the circumstances that are, at that point in time, surrounding the game and then make that kind of a play. Whether you want to talk about the third down and one tackle or whatever, it is a tough tackle. That is a heck of a ballcarrier, but if we get him down, there is no 50-yard pass. There were a lot of things and you could go on and on about this game because there are so many of them. As I always say, there is no one group, there is no one player, no one aspect of our team that ever loses a game. We lose it or we win it together. We didn't win. We don't have any excuses for it. The thing that I do want to make sure that you and that everyone else understands is that at no time during the course of this year after any of the six wins have we ever dwelled on yesterday. I am not going to dwell on yesterday today either, we have got to move on. We have a big game this weekend to get ready for so as I told the players after we went through our correction period, this will be the last time that we will talk about and reference this game. We move forward. When we come back in Wednesday morning we are moving forward, we are talking about the Detroit Lions.

Was there any indication to you on the first Dallas touchdown that Romo may have been over the line?
That question was just asked and when that question was asked the answer was from upstairs they did not feel that technically he was over the line and I feel the same way after looking at the tape.

How healthy did you come through the game?
It sounds like we are pretty good, pretty good shape. I know that Kareem (McKenzie) told you guys he was feeling good.

Last year you had a lot of physical issues that held you back in the second half of the season; is there any issue mentally that this team needs to overcome to make sure it doesn't experience the same kind of season half to the season this year?
No. I don't think so. Everybody today is obviously down. We are disappointed. We had high expectations and they weren't fulfilled, so we are down. We will bounce back. We will bounce back. The idea being that we have many, many games to play. We have seven games to play against a lot of tough opponents, starting this weekend, and we can still determine our own fate. I think when we come back on Wednesday they will have a day to resolve and realize the importance of preparing, focusing, practicing, and getting ready for this next game.

Is Plaxico Burress' ankle injury limiting his effectiveness?
Well, there isn't any question that he is bothered by the ankle. It doesn't wait until after the game to start bothering him. He is out there, he is trying, he is going as hard as he can, he wants to play, he wants to be involved, and it will be that way for a couple of days and then probably Wednesday when he comes back in… Tomorrow he will feel a little bit better than he felt today and then Wednesday I hope he will feel even better and with that his spirits rise. He is down because we lost and because he is hurting today. As he starts to feel better, the process normally is he is swollen the day after and then he gets a little bit better and then his spirits come back up, but he continues to work well in meetings and try to prepare as best he can without a whole lot of snaps.

Is his ankle the reason that his numbers are down over the past couple of games?
I would think that certainly has a lot to do with it, but it doesn't prevent us from trying to do the things that we think we need to do. If that is what your question is, no, we are not backing off any of those things.

Did Dallas' pass coverage limit taking shots down the field?
We feel like we should have… most of the time play-action is a good source for us. The balls we hit, the balls to Shockey, what we call a sail route, there was a post on top of that and we just didn't have the opportunity to throw the ball down the field for the post, but we made good chunks down the sideline. We always feel like when we come out if we haven't had a chance play-action allows us to get the ball down the field but we look hard at the tape the next day for it and there were some chances. You are still talking about basically a coverage which was over the top of all the receivers and you are going to have to out-run somebody to get the ball if that is, in a sense, what is going to happen.

Did you think about kicking the field goal on the late fourth down instead of going for it?
Yeah, there was thought about it going in the same way, how we would put that whole thing together, but I honestly thought we would be fine on the fourth down and we would make it and continue. We had it where we had saved our timeouts; we had done all that stuff. I just thought we would make it on fourth down and score there, go for two, have the onside opportunity, and so on and so forth. Yeah it was considered.

Has tempo been an issue year long?
I wouldn't say necessarily that tempo has always been good, but it certainly has been better than it was last night. I mean from all aspects. It is people getting back in the huddle, it is people getting up to the line of scrimmage, there were just times last night where it looked like early in the game even that we weren't getting back to the huddle fast enough. That to me is… I am kind of one of those anyway, I am a little bit anxious about those type of things. There is a way to go about your business where you express the entire length of the clock and you have a chance to view everything and make a change in play if you want to and it does add to the time of possession at the end of the game, let's face it. There was a way to do that. I just don't think we were always in that kind of flow last night and it is something that we definitely have to improve upon. We have done things throughout the course of the year where we have had the 40-second clock and the 25-second clock going right away right in practice but you all realize the game is a different thing than practice. You can plant a seed that way but you really have to get that tempo going under game circumstances.

Were there any technical issues with the delay of game penalties?
No. We had a little issue early but that was resolved. There was no problem that way, no.

On the first Dallas touchdown was it a blown coverage?
Actually, we had the coverage set one way and the linebackers also were set that way. It was a mistake, an error, in basically alignment because the way it transpired there was one defender left on the backside and we didn't have enough people back there.

They had two tight ends?
Two tight ends and a slot on the other side, that is right, that is what I am saying. There weren't enough people back there to cover. We shifted the front, not the front, but the secondary had gone to the slot side and also the linebackers moved over that way and when the action transpired there was no one in position to help carry that second tight end.

Does this loss feel similar to the loss to the Bears last season?
No. I am not drawing any parallels to anything like that. It feels like a game where we are disappointed. We are disappointed because we lost the football game that was at home in the division and we were all excited about playing.

Can you assess Eli Manning's game yesterday?
The first half was outstanding and the second half obviously the numbers weren't as good. I don't know that we helped him as much as we could in a lot of ways. I think that if it was 24-24, we would have had a chance to see more that was going to transpire there late in the game. Certainly we have been more effective with our two-minute offense in the past. That was something that I mentioned to the team. Eli had an outstanding first half. Always the blame goes to the coach and to the quarterback and to the coach it should go to, in some ways the quarterback always draws the raves but in this case it would be nice to stand up here and say we did better, we did this, we did that, but we didn't. We all know where the shortcomings were.

Has Ahmad Bradshaw shown you anything with his play?
Yeah, the one thing that I pointed out to our team that was really good, I don't know if you noticed it, on the one that broke out he stayed right with the wedge. Right with the wedge, right behind the wedge, and the wedge kept moving, which is something we are always talking about. Keep the wedge moving, get to the next level. He stayed right in behind there, took full advantage of it, and we know he is a powerful guy with a powerful build and he has the speed and so on and so forth. He has been very, very concerned, and his coaches have all talked to him endlessly, with ball security. He is very aware of that. He worked hard to put himself in the position that he is in and it is just a shame last night that we couldn't have seen what would have developed if we had the ball on it looked like the two to me but I guess they were going to spot it at the four. If we had the chance to go ahead and have that opportunity, particularly answering right after as an answer to their momentum. There are all types of things; the start of the third quarter with our field position and not being able to do anything with that. That hurt. That is what we had talked about, keeping the ball away from them, and we did win the time of possession but we didn't stop the 86-yard drive. Had we kept the ball, maybe something positive could have come out of that. It is those kinds of things that leave you very frustrated when you have spent a lot of time talking about that particular time in the game and what you think you have to do and we had the ball, too. You get the ball, we get the time, and we get the ball at the 47-yard line and we make a couple of yards on first down and we go incomplete on a play-action pass, we hit Shockey on a crossing but we come up short. You have got to punt the ball there.

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