Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Press Conference, December 17, 2014
Good Morning. We prepare ourselves to play the St. Louis Rams, a team we havenít played in a while. I think it was 2011 when Steve Spagnuolo was there, the last time we played against the Rams. This team is built on speed and physicality. I think you have to be attracted to some of the games they played this year. They lost to the Cowboys, 34-31, to the Eagles, 34-28, beat the Seahawks, 28-26, beat the 49ers, 13-10, beat the Denver Broncos, 22-7, then had the two shutouts just a couple of weeks ago when all of the attention was placed on the fact that they were going for their third shutout in a row.
Their offensive team features a lot of good young football players. Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham, the left tackle Greg Robinson, and, of course, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Jared Cook, just to name a few. They are 26th in the league on the offensive side of the ball, their defense is ranked 11th in the league, 12th against the run, 10th against the pass. They are allowing in the last five weeks just 9.2 points per game. Allowing at 37% on third down, they are 10th in the league, allowing in the green zone just 14 touchdowns, the fewest in the NFL. In the last nine games they have 35 sacks, they feature the outstanding pass rusher Robert Quinn and Chris Long, Alec Ogletree at linebacker, and an outstanding secondary.
Their special teams, three of their teams are ranked in the top ten. They are third in the NFL in punt return, 8th on kickoff return, 9th allowing 7.1 yards per punt return, they are 18th giving up per kickoff return 24.3 yards. Outstanding team that plays in a dome, they are a physical team, they have outstanding team speed. We donít know this team, which, again, in a lot of ways is good because there is every bit of knowledge that our players are going to grasp it just this week. They are really going to have to study to prepare to play this team.
Q: You donít know the team, but you know the coach very well. What is it like going against Jeff Fisher?
A: The expectation is of a very physical football game, a game in which you have be prepared at anytime for some type of special teams gadget play. As you remember early in the year, they ran the exceptional punt return against Seattle, which was very well devised. Jeff Fisher is an excellent football coach and weíve played against him for many years.
Q: You are not one to sue gadget plays. What is your thought process on using them?
A: It is not that we donít have it ready. If it is there and we have the opportunity like we did on Sunday, we take full advantage of it. If you really know, for example, the punt return business, or the punt business, you realize that if you are anywhere near the middle of the field, you are getting eight of them in the box. It is tough to come up with things there. They have an exceptional punter in that he was a scout team quarterback at Oregon State when he was in college, he throws the ball very well. They do have that ability, everyone has the fullback run type things. When properly utilized, obviously it can be very, very, good, it can create another possession for you literally.
Q: Your offense has scored 60 points the last two weeks. You are going up against a very good defense here. What kind of test and challenge does this present?
A: Big, very big, challenge. Going into the dome, particularly, playing there at home. As I said, we have our work cut out for us and we are going to have do an exceptional job with our pass protection, with our recognition of blitz. Greg Williams is the defensive coordinator, there will be a lot of pressure involved in their plan. They blitz more than anyone else in the NFL. I believe it is like 44.7%, so you know what to expect
Re: Jacquian Williamsí concussion. Any long term concern?
A: I have no idea. I couldnít even respond to that. Letís let him have further time and see the specialist.
Q: Do we know if this is something heís had trouble with before in the past?
A: Not to my knowledge, since heís been here, has there been that kind of problem.
Q: How concerned are you about Rueben Randle? Heís been disciplined twice.
A: Yeah, but as I said, thatís between him and me. He made a heck of a play the other day to put the ball down at the six-yard line. Thereís always things that I would want for each individual to improve upon thatís on our team, and all of us to improve upon Ė different things in our lives, different parts of our game, to be honest with you. Iím always after Rueben for that because heís a talented young man.
Q: Are you happy with his approach of getting prepared on a weekly basis?
A: Yes, except for the issues.
Q: What do you see in your team after going through the losing streak and how have they responded?
A: Well, theyíve responded probably as well as you can respond, particularly over the course of the seven weeks. I thought they stayed together. They were, for obvious reasons, humbled. But they supported one another. They backed each other up. They did what you have to do as a legitimate team member Ė someone who believes in the cause, the players believing in each other, the brotherhood that takes place when you go through the things that an NFL team has to go through in order to achieve. As Iíve said before, Iíve been proud of that.
Q: Do you think theyíve got something to prove this week?
A: Youíve got something to prove every day youíre on the face of this earth.
Q: What does Corey Washington have to do to see more playing time?
A: He made a play.
Q: With only one snap though.
A: Itís not bad though.
Q: What does he have to prove to you to get more snaps?
A: Do a better job on the practice field. Do a better job all around. My standard operating procedure is I like to have the fourth and the fifth receivers be outstanding contributors on special teams. Weíre not there right now. That would help a lot. Corey can be and has been on our punt return and our kickoff return team. Iíd like to see him improve in that area as well.
Q: Is it a matter of him learning the offense?
A: No. He does a good job. He can play multiple positions from the standpoint of knowing what to do. Heís done that from day one. He does have to, obviously, become better at his job.
Q: Is Jameel McClain practicing today?
A: No. Those are the two (McClain and Rashad Jennings).
Q: You talked about Kerry Wynn the other day. Is the plan to use him more on passing downs going forward?
A: No. He played a lot on first and second down yesterday.
Q: Is the plan for him to take most of those first and second snaps at that defensive end spot?
A: He can be in that position. He can rush on third down. He has played on first and second down. If I had to give you a specific, as youíre asking, yeah. That would be the way we would play, but we slide him inside on third down and he plays over the guard.
Q: Iím sure defenses are sick of Odell Beckham Jr. running all over the place. Are you expecting this matchup to be his most physical challenge?
A: I think thereís a physical challenge every week for the number of roles that he plays, but this certainly will be one, and each week he grows and develops and he sees new things and that may very well be the case this week.
Q: Antrel Rolle didnít play his best game on Sunday. Did you have to say something to him?
A: He wants to be the best that he can be. The other day he had some occasions where he didnít play that well, but itís not because he doesnít try hard and heís not into it. He works off the field as hard as anybody.