Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Conference Call, August 29, 2014
You come to the end of preseason and you evaluate where you are. The big thing today is obviously personnel and having to get to the number. There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of tasks that go into this, so youíll have to accept my apology of putting you off a little bit, but that is where we are. Preseason is over. We had a lot of good and a lot of things that have to be corrected and I understand all of your questions.
Be careful; donít be too redundant about the offensive questions. There are only so many answers. I am very confident we are going to get the passing game straightened around. Have we sat back and flat out thrown the ball in one game? No, we havenít because we are not going to get away from the run because last year we were so poor in the run game that it ruined our balance and in result, we turned the ball over at ridiculous rates. So that is not going to happen and we wanted to make sure of that throughout the course of the preseason. Perhaps there should have been a time where we did nothing but throw the ball, but that really was not something that I wanted to entertain during this preseason.
Q: With Henry [Hynoski] and Mario [Manningham], how serious are [their injuries] and how do they affect you as you make your decisions this weekend?
A: Well, from what we understand, Henry has a contusion of the shoulder. Nothing more than that. Even today he says he is much better than he was last night. Mario has strained a calf.
Q: Does that calf strain complicate your evaluation of Mario as you are trying to figure outÖ?
A: Anytime you have an injury that occurs at the final hour, it does add another dimension to the selection that perhaps you didnít want to deal with. I will leave it at that.
Q: Where do you stand with your punt returner?
A: Remember, we wanted Odell Beckham Jr. to be involved in the punt return game and we have not had the opportunity to put Odell in that position as of yet. I am expecting in the near future to be able to do that. Trindon [Holliday] has been a kick and punt returner and he has had an unfortunate injury also that has prevented that. We do know that Rueben Randle can handle that chore and fulfills the number one responsibility very well and that is catch the football. We know that for a fact. We have seen that for an entire season. We know we have Rueben who can, under certain circumstances, whether it be backed up inside the 10, you can count on him to catch the football. People surround the returner and you will be safe with that. What has happened with Preston Parker is he had a 16-yarder last night, which was a nice return. He is a tough and courageous returner. There have been a couple of times when the ball security hasnít been as good as I would like to have it. That is a consideration as well. There are different considerations. Jerrel Jernigan has been back there before. He is a guy that has caught the ball at various times in his career. Victor Cruz can go back there and catch the ball and he works back there with the returners on a daily basis when we go to the segment of practice that calls for the punt returners to be back there. We have some people that we havenít been able to see, and we have some guys that are dependable and have been with us. Weíve got some unknowns, not necessarily unknowns, but we have some new guys that have entered into the picture as well.
Q: What did you see from John Jerry and how comfortable would you feel if he were to remain a starter in that role?
A: Well, John, I thought, played better last night. I thought that each time he has entered into a game he has had the opportunity to have more snaps. He had a lot of snaps last night. I think he has performed better each time he has gone onto the field. From that standpoint, we are pleased to get him in the game, leave him in the game, let him play under those circumstances and then have a chance to look at him. I think, as I said, he played better last night than he did the week before and that is the key. Improvement is the key.
Q: Do you get a sense of where Brandon Mosley is with the back issue and do you think he will be able to practice this week?
A: Well, they are telling us that they think he will respond very well, and in effect, if he does, with Thursday being our Wednesday, that they would expect he may very well be ready.
Q: When you say Ďrespond well,í is that the treatment or did he have a shot?
A: He had a treatment. Treatment and time, yes.
Q: At the league meeting you talked about the desire or the preference of keeping two quarterbacks on the roster so you can have that extra spot. Do you still feel that way?
A: Well, that is just an ideal world. In an ideal world you would keep two quarterbacks; therefore, you would have an extra roster spot and thatís the way I think everybody thinks. Now there are different circumstances and situations and all of those things have to be taken into consideration. Then you must do whatís the best thing for your team. While itís ideal, whether or not itís best for our team, I am not at liberty say right now.
Q: Where does Jon Beason stand right now in terms of his availability for Week 1?
A: I think that I made this statement over the weekend. I think he is going to be allowed to practice come Monday.
Q: Beyond just the execution we saw this summer, do you expect the offense to look different than what we saw in those five games in terms of play calling and different things that go into a regular season game?
A: Well, I expect that once we zoom in on an all-encompassing game plan that whatever we feel is necessary in order for us to win, you will see it. Hopefully that will satisfy what you think comes from a prepared plan to the extent that you are in the regular season. Whether or not it looks the same to you or whether or not itís effective, and if itís effective, it will certainly look well to you. And the effectiveness will look well enough to you and the effectiveness will be based on what the opponent does and what we think our people can do.
Q: Eli said today he thinks some players in the new offense are so concerned about doing everything right, like it is written up in the book, exactly how it is being coached that sometimes they are forgetting to run around and just play football. Do you see any of that?
A: Well, I know that there is no question that particularly when young people are coming into a different circumstance or when veteran players have a new scheme to work with or to understand, there is no doubt. The first thing you have to do is learn. The second thing you have to do is do it according to the way it is. The third thing is be an athlete, be a professional, and react. Hopefully by the time you get to the reaction part of this, it has been engrained and by that I mean itís instinctive and itís difficult to separate one from the other. There isnít any question that some of that takes place, but to what extent I wouldnít comment on that. I wouldnít know that one.
Q: Do you have a clearer picture of the tight end situation yet?
A: I have probably as good as itís going to get from a preseason standpoint. Itís been one of those situations where last night you saw us leave people in the game for segments of time and count their plays or their reps. That is rapidly coming to the end and soon it will be the identification of what people do best. A great percentage of what you ask them to do is what they do well. Of course, you have to feed into the idea that you must go against the grain to a certain extent at some point in time or numerous points in time just so that people arenít aware of exactly whatís coming each time an individual enters the game. I am aware of that as well, but what we are trying to do is identify what each individual does as well to the best of his ability and then try to ask him to do that in a game.
Q: How open are you to keeping four guys at that position [tight end]?
A: Whatever we feel is the best compliment to other positions that we decide in terms of numbers of what we can afford to do and what we canít afford to do, that will be the way we go.
Q: How close are you on deciding whether Geoff Schwartz goes on short-term [injured reserve] and generally what goes into that decision?
A: Well, the idea is you have an individual who, first of all, you have to get the official medical interpretation of how long or how far out that individual might be from being able to resume play. Basically the starting point is the severity of the injury, how long is it going to take to get the individual back into a position where he can play and contribute, and those are the factors you have to consider.
Q: Which positions do you think will the most difficult in the next 24 hours to try and determine which direction you are going to go?
A: Thatís something that I will basically keep within here. I think that, to a certain extent, you want them all to be tough calls, you donít want to have any real easy calls unless they areÖ. of someone that is so well-established, you donít have to worry about that. You like it to be competitive and you like to have some hard choices, so hopefully there will be a lot of them.
Q: Timetable for Geoff Schwartz?
A: Guys, you are not going to get that one. I am not free to tell you how long or whatever weÖ. I think you had some information out there. I think Geoff Schwartz himself said it may take something like three to four weeks, and I would add a little bit to that, I would think, just to be safe.
However I still see quite a variance in what meaning people put in the performance of certain units.
I, for one, believe it is meaningful that the 1st team Offense looked pathetic for all but one or two drives this pre-season, while acknowledging that they didn't game plan or run the full complement of their offensive scheme. I suspect that poor performance will likely carry into the regular season.
Others don't care what they are looking at in pre-season... apparently assuming a switch will be flipped in the next week and we will all of a sudden correct most of what we looked bad doing in pre-season.
The best part is... in a week we begin to find out what this team really is all about.