Head Coach Tom Coughlin
November 16, 2015
Good afternoon. It’s remorse for our opportunity lost today. Obviously we’re disappointed, we’re frustrated, and looking at the tape doesn’t help. I do think that we have played 10 weeks in a row, four more if you want to consider preseason, so the players have a much-needed rest coming. We do lead the division and when we come back, we have a divisional game. Hopefully we’ll use this time to rest and reflect a little bit and regroup and come back and finish strong and that’s what the whole break is for, for us to regroup, get healthy as best as we can and come back and give it a hard, hard shot for the final six games of the season.
Q: We got the news about Victor Cruz. Your reaction to losing him for the season?
A: Well, to be honest, the information was pretty well kept from me until today. I appreciated that in a way, I didn’t want to be thinking about other things as we prepared for our game. Yeah, very disappointing and I feel very badly for Victor in terms of this one issue, obviously the most difficult to get over the hump with. He’s going to have to get this taken care of and hopefully it will solve the issue and he can move forward and so can we.
Q: Did he get out there Saturday? He had mentioned going out there to run routes on Saturday. Did he ever get to that point?
A: I think that was what it was. Saturday.
Q: Is this the same thing he had months ago and it just reoccurred?
Q: Going forward, with what you’ve seen of Dwayne Harris, do you feel comfortable with him in that slot role?
A: He’s played pretty well and he played well yesterday. Made a couple of really nice plays yesterday. We move people around in and out of that spot and we will continue to do that, but Dwayne has done a nice job, particularly that last drive. I thought he made two super plays in that last drive.
Q: If I can just go back to Victor for a minute. It will be almost two full seasons without any football. Are you in a position to even think about if his Giants future is in jeopardy?
A: Well, no. Really this has all come fast. Let him get healed up, let us finish our season, and then I think we’ll have to have some medical opinions about what’s happening here. Hopefully there will be some good answers.
Q: In general, do you think a guy can come back after nearly two years out of it?
A: I think he can, he’s young, but he’s struggling with a health issue.
Q: Odell Beckham took the responsibility for the loss on himself. Have you visited with him either about that or the actual play itself?
A: He mentioned that to me yesterday when we were coming out of the locker room and I just, you know I don’t believe that. There is no one individual that is responsible, we’re all responsible. As I always tell the players, I’m responsible for when we lose, they’re responsible when we win. That’s just the way it is, but he can learn from this, definitely, and he will. Securing the ball properly right away as the second move rather than holding the ball away from your body, he learned a difficult lesson and I’m sure it’ll stick with him.
Q: That’s a technique he’s used in the past though, keeping the ball away rather than pulling it in. Is that effective?
A: It’s not something that I teach. Get the ball into a secure position in your body. In other words, what’s the difference if you’re carrying the ball out here or you’re carrying the ball out here? It’s in a slapable position, whereas if you have it in here, you’ve got it well protected within the grasp of your arm, your body and your extra arm can help, too. He’ll learn from that.
Q: Looking at the punt return, did Danny Amendola’s call really affect Dwayne Harris?
A: I believe it did, but you’re going to have to ask Dwayne. You can see him kind of cruise by the position rather than make the play. I really don’t understand why that bothered him. I mean, he’s a punt returner himself, he knows the rules, he knows what the fair catch signal is. Whether he thought the ball was going to bounce and therefore he circled around behind, that very well may have been. I haven’t really had a chance to talk one-on-one with any of them today.
Q: He said he was looking for the ball.
A: If that’s the case, then that’s what he was doing.
Q: And Amendola said that that was his intent as a trick.
A: I know it was (his) intent. For sure, it was an intent and it did work with that one regard. That doesn’t answer the question you’re going to next ask about where was everybody else and that’s what I want to know, too, and I presented that to our team today. Are we going to have a punt return every time we have a game that goes down to the final seconds? We punted four times; a week ago we punted once. We can’t cover four punts? I mean that was—not to have somebody up on the edge of the field side with and they’ve been told all week about the quickness of these two returners. Not necessarily the speed, but the quickness and the ability to change direction.
Q: Did you have an issue with any of the blocks on the punt return?
A: Where am I going with that? I’m not going to start talking about that.
Q: The punt was where you wanted?
Q: Your team played at a high level yesterday. Is the challenge going forward to be consistent for the remaining six ball games?
A: We’ve played at a pretty high level for a few weeks now and, as I told our players today—the questions are legitimate and anticipated—but the thing you have to understand is the intensity, the ability to play against a high-powered opponent is inspirational in itself and the great competitors will rise to the occasion. I think that will continue. When we come back, there’s only six games left and, like I said, at this point and time, we do lead the division. That’s what we’ve always talked about is the most direct line to where you want to go is right through the division. There’s so much, there’s so much incentive here for our team that I can’t possibly imagine not grasping this opportunity and going with it.
Q: In what ways can it help you move forward by the way you guys played and…?
A: What ways?
A: We just played against the Super Bowl champion and you played to the very end. We had our chances to win and we didn’t win. So clean up a few things and let’s go.
Q: You used that last game of the 2007 season, when New England came in here undefeated and you played them close, you used that as an emotional and confidence springboard into the playoffs. Could yesterday’s game have a similar effect for the last six games of the regular season?
A: I think it can. Yeah, it sure can. But I think it’s again the question of eliminating those things that are not allowing us to go forward. Like you asked me yesterday about the first call, they’ve got six defensive linemen in the game, they’ve got a timeout, they’ve got the two-minute warning. If you calculate it, if you run the ball there, you’re going to have maybe one play in which you’re trying to score. You’re not going to run the ball into six defensive linemen. You’re trying to score. Your matchups are very good in those circumstances one-on-one. You’ve got to take advantage of what the opponent gives you. For two downs, you had six defensive linemen in the game. Go for it. That’s what you do. If it was something vanilla and you could run, you could run, but in that circumstance you’re going for the score and we had the score. We should’ve had second down, it should’ve been, too. They brought people and we had some opportunities there, too, but you’ve got to get it done when it’s on the line. That’s the whole point.
Q: I guess my question yesterday was based more on forcing them to use the timeouts and kind of drain the 40-second clock and then get a field goal out of it rather than scoring a touchdown.
A: I wouldn’t go that way. Against Brady, you have to make those decisions going forward. We all knew even though they had no timeouts left, we’re up two points. With that kicker, all they had to do was get to a certain point on the field and even if we would’ve made it—what would’ve been really interesting was the last ball that went to Amendola if we collapsed the way we were supposed to, to make the tackle, that would’ve been like a 58- or a 57-yard field goal. That would’ve been very interesting. The man’s a powerful, powerful kicker, he might’ve made that anyway, but it would’ve been very interesting. They did use the last timeout. They used it on the slide by Eli. So we had the circumstance where after the field goal they had no timeouts and they actually worked the ball in the field as much as a couple of ways to surprise me, which we all know about the first down play. I mean the game should’ve been over.
Q: This is not about second-guessing, this is just a question. When that happens and they put the six defensive linemen out there, he’s clearly expecting you to throw the ball, he knows you’re not going to run into that. Do you feel comfortable with the other coach dictating to your offense what is going to happen?
A: Well, in that regard, I don’t look at it as dictating, I look at it—they’re saying to you, you’re not going to run, so you’re going to be throwing the football—but I look at it as your matchups are all singled. There is nobody else behind the line of scrimmage, it’s one-on-one. So go beat somebody and score.
Q: There’s not a lot of space there.
A: There’s enough. There’s plenty.
Q: I mean first down you’ve got a lot of space…
A: Fifteen yards. There’s plenty.
Q: The clock management at the end of yesterday’s game has taken over social media, and I don’t suggest you necessarily care about that, but can you at least see the different sides of running the ball and burning…
A: I’m not playing for the field goal. I’m not playing for the field goal.
Q: You can run it in, though, at some point? Is that completely out of the question?
A: In that circumstance, the odds were against us running the ball in because of the six big people that they put up front.
Q: Did the state of your own offensive line play into things at all?
A: The run, the effectiveness of the run, does enter in, sure.
Q: Any update on Weston Richburg?
A: Ankle. Ankle sprain. However long it takes, hopefully he’ll come back next week, he’ll look pretty good after the break.
Q: Your group has had to be pretty resilient from Week 1 and you could argue before that. Will you leave them today with any kind of message about resiliency and everything in front of them as they take a couple of days?
A: That message has been well-stated about what we have in front of us and what the expectation is when we come back. As I said, I led the meeting off by saying that it’s a very disappointing loss, however, great competitors stand up, we have a lot of work to do and many, many opportunities out there. That’s the way we’re going forward. Now, I did not refrain about talking about the circumstances yesterday where the opportunities were one for five in the green zone. One for five. One touchdown. One more touchdown. I mean, there it is. We were even plus-one (in turnovers) yesterday.
Q: Was Prince Amukamara close to playing this game and do you expect…
A: He wasn’t going to get the okay. Two more weeks, I think they will give him the green light. At least that’s my understanding today.
Q: Is your level of expectation for this team based on the way it’s played in recent weeks and you’ve lost four games by nine points, has your level of expectation increased as the season has gone on?
A: I don’t know that I would put it that way. The idea for us constantly has been to improve the level of our play, the execution of our play, and I think reasonably, we’ve done that, not always to the same accord with all three, but yesterday was certainly, barring one or two plays, well enough played to win. And I am excited about this team and the six remaining games.
Q: How would you describe the improvement of JPP from one game to the next and how much more he can improve?
A: I think he’s got more to go. I really do. I think that was his second game, there was a little bit of progress there and I think he would speak to that. I think there’s much more that’s ahead.