Head Coach Tom Coughlin
October 21, 2015
We are preparing for the Dallas Cowboys, in the division. Obviously, the team is 2-0 in the division, 2-3 overall. They are minus-five in the turnover ratio. Their offensive team, despite the loss of their quarterback, is averaging almost 350 yards per game—242 in the air, 106 on the ground. Their O-line is their strong point. Quarterback Matt Cassel is to start this game is what I’m reading and hearing. The left guard position, supposedly La’el Collins will also start and play. Jason Witten, their longtime Pro Bowl tight end, is their leading receiver at 30 receptions, followed by Beasley with 22. Joseph Randle continues to lead their team as their outstanding ball carrier, 74 for 289 for 3.8, a long of 37 and four touchdowns. Their defense is ninth versus the rush, 19th against the pass. They had six sacks after the first four games, they had five sacks against New England and Tom Brady in their fifth game. Greg Hardy, who recently joined their team, had two sacks. Rolando McClain started at middle linebacker, who recently joined their team. Sean Lee at WILL linebacker, Barry Church, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne—those are their outstanding players on that side of the ball. Special teams led by Dan Bailey, their outstanding kicker, and Chris Jones, their outstanding punter. No questions, I’m sure, right? No, I’m not going backwards and discussing last week, I’ll save you that one.
Q: You play this team twice in the first half of the season. They’re in a little different situation, going down, they have a new quarterback. What’s your sense of what they are right now?
A: I think they’re going up. I think they played better, even though they lost to New England by that score, there’s no question their defensive team played well. It was a very tight game for a long time. New England’s defense did an outstanding job. The Cowboys played New England very well, to be honest with you. I thought they lined up and played them man-to-man, nose-to-nose, I got you, you got me, let’s go. For the most part, they did a pretty good job. The Patriots were able to maneuver and got one of their big plays in the second half out of the wheel route out of the number three receiver. But it was certainly a good game, entertaining game to watch. So I think their defense has gained a couple of players and it’s going to make them stronger. Their offense, they obviously decided to make a move at the quarterback position. Other than that, I really don’t have any comment.
Q: What kind of change does that have on you guys? The difference in quarterback, what do you expect?
A: Well we’ve gone back and done all our homework. Matt had the outstanding year, was it 2008, when Brady went down and they still won 11 games there in New England with him at quarterback. So we went back to that. We went back to his preseason stuff as well.
Q: How do you assess your offensive line? Obviously, the Cowboys had the five sacks against New England. Was the other night an aberration?
A: Well, the other night wasn’t our best effort, obviously, that holds true. But you know what, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back on track and recognize the strength of their defensive front, which is a good one with the addition of a couple new players. Hopefully we’ll get some of this straightened out. We’ve certainly got to do a better job of not getting beat on the edge or even getting pushed back into the quarterback’s face. Even with the three-step drop stuff, you’ve got to have time to get the ball out.
Q: Can some of that be a momentum thing?
A: Sure, it is. Sure, it is. I hope we can get it going the other way.
Q: Uani ‘Unga is on the injury list with a neck. Furthermore, how do decide the snap distribution there with Jon Beason and Uani?
A: Well, they were going to roll. There were two sets of linebackers playing that spot, which is primarily against—they’re a zebra team, they’re a three-wide receiver team. So we just rolled those guys in pretty much throughout the game.
Q: Is that something you’ve done before, used different sets basically?
A: I don’t know if we’ve done it exactly that way, but we certainly have rolled players in and out of games.
Q: Is it something you intend to do possibly moving forward?
A: We’ll see based on the opposition. We’ll see what we come up with this week.
Q: And the neck injury for Uani?
A: Yeah, I don’t think they made much of that. A burner type thing and hopefully he’s not going to be bothered by that.
Q: Where’s Devon Kennard? How’s he doing?
A: He’s going to practice, yeah. He’s going to be limited, but he will practice. We’ll see how it goes throughout the course of the week.
Q: What about Jonathan Casillas? I know he had the neck issue in the preseason.
A: Well, we hope to see progress every day and we’ll find out more about that as I get the report this morning.
Q: But he’s not practicing? Or he is?
A: I expect him to practice.
Q: You talked a little bit, I think yesterday, about your team not handling the adversity well and not being able to overcome things that happened against the Eagles.
A: Our offensive team.
Q: How do you get them to--?
A: Yeah, thanks a lot. All you can do is go right back to it. We really have been a group that, as a team, when adversity has struck, we’ve battled our way through it. We’ve done that. And why the other day it became an obstacle? Very difficult for us to say, but we’ll go right back to it philosophically and hammer home, as I told you, how this group has identified themselves. And if that’s true, what they said about what they wanted for the identity, was a little bit off the other night in one regard. And that was the offensive side of the ball.
Q: How about Robert Ayers?
A: He’s going to practice. We’ll see.
Q: Is he a little better than he was last week?
A: Hopefully. He’s had extra time.
Q: How did Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle come out of the game with their hamstrings?
A: They were sore.
Q: Are they going to practice today?
A: I’m not sure about that yet.
Q: Where’s the JPP situation stand?
A: I wish I knew. As soon as I have information, I’ll let you know.
Q: Is he coming in today?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Will Beatty practicing at all today?
A: Beatty is starting on the clock and he’s going to begin, like I said the other day, very slowly. Individual work.
Q: And you have three weeks from now?
A: Three weeks.
Q: Have you reached out to Terry Collins at all?
A: I have texted him a couple of times congratulating him on his progress.
Q: Did he text back?
A: Once. He’s a little busy.