Head Coach Tom Coughlin
December 10, 2014
Good morning. As we prepare for the Washington Redskins in the division, I think it is important to recognize this football team. They are 12th in the NFL on offense. They are 22nd in rushing but 10th in passing. They have such outstanding players as [Pierre] Garçon, the receiver, [DeSean] Jackson, the receiver, and, of course, they have the great all-pro Trent Williams at left tackle. The quarterback situation is a little bit up in the air, but Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin and Kirk Cousins have certainly done an outstanding job for the Redskins. They all have outstanding quarterback ratings.
Their defensive team is 10th in the National Football League. They are 11th against the run, 13th against the pass. They do have an outstanding front led by [Chris] Baker, their nose tackle, [Jason] Hatcher, the right defensive end. The two outside backers, of course [Ryan] Kerrigan is having an outstanding year with 11.5 sacks. [Trent] Murphy on the other side, the rookie. At the linebacker level there is [Keenan] Robinson and, of course, Ryan Clark, the veteran, plays in the secondary and is the free safety.
Their special teams, I think, are led by their outstanding punter, the left-footed Tress Way who has a 39.7 net average, but an outstanding hang time as well. Andre Roberts is currently their returner for kickoffs and punt return. DeSean Jackson could very well end up back there in the area of the punt returns.
We look forward to getting ready to play the Redskins here at home. We do have a group who is hungry and aggressive and looking forward to this. [We have] almost a full group to take the practice field today with the exception of: [James] Brewer will not practice, Jacquian Williams will not practice, Jameel McClain will not practice, but the rest of the players will perform and will all practice. We look forward to a very good day.
Q: Can you talk about [Devon] Kennard and what he has been able to do?
A: Kennard has played very well. You know about his recognition today as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He has been a really outstanding player for us in the last few weeks. He has had a number of sacks, a number of hits on the quarterback and he has played well at the linebacker level, whether it is in coverage or whatever. He is a young man who, for as long as you have been asking me, I have said that he loves to play. He is physical and he is one of those guys by just looking in his eyes you know that he wants to be on the field.
Q: You didn’t mention Eli Manning as one of the guys not practicing… Is his back injury anything serious?
A: I hope not. We will list him as limited just because of what you all recognized the other day. He was in the training room. He’ll practice like he always practices, unless I hear I something different from him.
Q: Was [Manning’s injury] from the hit off…?
A: I don’t know what it was. All I know is that it is his back. He functions well. For reasons, whatever, he is on the list.
Q: It is nothing structural or is it a bruise…?
A: It is his back… There is this area just below the neck (laughing).
Q: Did [Manning] do everything he usually does on Tuesday’s.
A: Yes. Mostly, it is in the meeting room.
Q: You did mention weightblifting?
A: Yes, he does that on Tuesday as well.
Q: That wasn’t a problem yesterday?
A: No. He squatted 450 [pounds] and benched 375 [pounds]…. [Laughs].
Q: When Kennard had that hamstring earlier in the season, did that slow him down at all?
A: I don’t think so. It was unfortunate that he had to miss time at all, but when he did, he came right back.
Q: To what do you attribute his development in recent weeks?
A: He’s a good player. He’s a young kid that’s getting the chance to play and he’s taken advantage of the opportunity.
Q: You haven’t had to go through what Jay Gruden is going through with his quarterbacks. He called it a ‘merry-go-round’ down in Washington... Is it difficult for a franchise trying to figure out who that guy is going to be? Is it difficult to operate and implement a program like they’re trying to do in Washington?
A: You have to ask Jay. As you said, we’ve been able to, for a number of years, have a starter that’s been in his position no matter what, game in and game out. No question, that’s a solid, solid plus to be able to do that. You’d have to ask somebody else. It did not ever happen to me in Jacksonville, either, really.
Q: I know you’re trying to win games. You repeat that over and over again. At the same time, you have a quarterback in Ryan [Nassib] who hasn’t really played in the NFL now pretty much for two seasons. Your quarterback plays every game. Is it important to get a look at him at all at any point here or to try to find a way to at least see what he can do in game action at some point this year?
A: There are a couple of different answers I could give for that. We are trying to win games, not that Ryan couldn’t help us in that capacity. I don’t answer the question that way. For us, it’s win, win as many games as we can. Ryan’s had extensive work on the practice field. He’s done an outstanding job with the scout team. He has shown the ability to do a lot of different things, some different from Eli. He’s making good progress.
Q: Do you see a major difference between him maybe in the beginning of this year to now?
A: Intellectually, he grows all the time because of the opportunity that he has to be in that meeting room with a game plan being formulated week in and week out and the exchange between the quarterback coach and Eli and the coordinator. He’s called upon as well.
Q: Rashad [Jennings] had two carries… do you expect him to get more of a workload?
A: I think so. Yeah, sure.
Q: How much of that was what he was able to do…?
A: Well, the very fact that he’s lining up this week answers a lot of that question for you. What we wanted to do when we brought him back, we felt he could play. I didn’t have a full confidence of what would happen if he had X amount of carries, so as you saw, we decided to utilize him on third down to start out with and see where we were in the game and that’s basically what we continued to do throughout the game. As a result of that, I think he’s stronger and better and so on and so forth. He did play the entire game in that capacity. I don’t have any question he’s going to continue to get better this week.
Q: Did you rely on Andre [Williams] more because of the success he was having?
A: No, that was the plan. The plan was the way we went.
Q: Because of the success that Andre has, does that maybe alter…?
A: I don’t know. We’ll see as the week progresses. I’ll have a better idea when I watch everybody practice and see where we are. We’re glad to see Andre’s development, we’re glad to have Rashad back in a capacity where we would not have to worry about or restrict.
Q: You said you wanted to see your team win the turnover battle, get to the quarterback and make plays... How eager are you to see them do that again another week and continue it?
A: Very. The challenge is to, as I’ve said every week to our team, my number one thing is their improvement and the ability to do some of these things – win the physical battle, win the turnover battle, do the things that we talked about. Get to the quarterback, reduce the run. All of those things. They’re all critical to any kind of success going forward. All we can do is try to take that number and improve it, get better at it.
Q: You talked about finishing games a lot this year. What about finishing strong for the whole season?
A: Finishing, like it or not, we’re coming to the conclusion of the season. The finishing the game, finishing the way we intend to finish it, I think there’s great carry-over if you’re talking about an entire season when you really do isolate each game one at a time.
Q: With their quarterback situation up in the air, do you have two different defensive plans?
A: It’s a big one. It has to be for now.
Q: Is McClain just a day-to-day issue?
A: He’ll go tomorrow.