Head Coach Tom Coughlin
December 7, 2015
Good afternoon. Weíve had a chance to look at the tape and talk to the players and meet with the players today. Obviously everybody is disappointed. Weíre all disappointed, youíre disappointed. But the conclusion that I come toóweíll win when we deserve to win. We havenít done enough things in order to put ourselves over the top. Obviously the end of the game situations have been discussed many, many times over. Iíve tried, openly, honestly, to remove that situation from happening, from our defense from having to deal with that at the end of the game. It didnít work out the way I wanted it to, but thatís been something that Iíve tried to aggressively take care of over the course of the season. But I think when you look at the opportunities that weíve had, and I use the one, again, I spoke to you last nightówe had the ball on the 31-yard line, we had the ball on the four-yard lineówe kept going backwards and by the time we had the penalty situations over with we were punting the football rather than kicking a field goal. Any one of the circumstances along the line which would have been more than a field goal would have given us the momentum that we needed to win the game. Whether it be fourth and twoófield goal, whether it be a field goal after the turnover, whatever the situation might be, had we been able to convert that, and we didnít -- we were 0 for 3 in the green zone -- into a touchdown, then the game would have been ours. That wasnít to be. I credited the players the way they practiced last week and worked, they did a good job on Wednesday, a good job on Thursday. The penalties continue to be a problem, the offensive penalties are too many and too foolish, and really ill timed, not anything that goes without stopping a drive or something of that nature. So we have got to get back to work. We have four games to go, weíre going to work extra hard as a coaching staff and the players will work hard. Weíve got to try and find a way to win a game and to change this negativity and so on and so forthóget our momentum going in the right direction.
Q: You said after the game itís hard to bring a team up after a loss like that. Did that carry over to today?
A: Well, what I said and what I meant perhapsówhen you bring a team together after a loss like that and try to address that, itís difficult, itís very difficult. Theyíre very disappointed, theyíre down, theyíre frustrated, there are all kinds of feelings and emotions, which you would expect. Theyíre competitors. Thatís just the nature of the business. Today after having an opportunity to gather and talk about it with their teammates so on and so forth, theyíre quiet, theyíre disappointed, thereís remorse for opportunity lost. And they can see it again when they look at the tape, theyíll see it for themselves. Those things are not easy. Weíre all sick of losing, letís face it. Weíre all sick of that, going through that. Weíve had too many very, very close games that went the other way at the end of the game for whatever reason. Itís not any one individual, itís not any one group, everyone contributes. As I said last night, had we taken the ball with a four-minute offense and kept the ball, which youíre supposed to do, they would have never got the ball back. So we didnít do that. Everyone wants to refer to the different phases, whatever. Iíll answer whatever questions you have.
Q: What did you see as being the difference? You played good defense for 51 minutes.
A: Well, itís a four quarter game, first of all, Iíll tell you, and thatís exactly what I told our team. And it goes for our offense, too. Twenty points in the first half, none in the second half. What games are you going to win like that? What games are you going to win scoring 13 or 10 points, whatever that might be? Itís a four quarter game, youíve got to play that way the entire ball game. You canít get to a situation where all of a sudden you stop making plays or donít make plays that are there. Letís face it, we should have had two interceptions. We should have had at least two interceptions, maybe another. The (Landon) Collinsí situation, he was prone and extended, maybe that wouldnít have been an easy catch. But there were a couple of catches that were easy catches and we didnít make them. One opportunity, the ball was tipped and right at the goal there, maybe because it was moving, it was not an easy ball to catch, but it could have been caught. So thereís all kinds of those things in a game, you know that. So for 60 minutes you have to play. Youíve got to have poise. Sometimes I didnít think we were as poised as we should have been. But the bottom line is when the game is on the line people have to step up and make plays. We didnít do that. We didnít do that to the extent that would have allowed us to win. We talked about special teams play all week and how we really needed our special teams to step up. When we looked at the special teams categories, we thought we could. And we got the big punt return. And we actually had a kickoff return in the overtime, that ball was at the 43-yard line. Thatís pretty good field position. It was nothing much to see the ball over in plus territory creating, again, another opportunity. And we got the foolish penalty that made it a 48-yarder instead of a 43-yarder. And I didnít like the third down play, which wasnít as competitive as it should have been, nor did it keep the drive alive. You know, youíre playing for a touchdown, youíre playing to win, youíre not playing to tie the game. Youíre not playing that way, thatís not how I play, anyway. I would tend to be that way from an aggressive standpoint anyway. But youíve got to make the plays when the plays are thereóthatís either defense or offense or whatever. I was serious with JPP, there was one of those screen balls that was not very far from his ability to reach out and catch it. I just visualize a guy with that kind of ability making that play and going the other way with one of those screens that were right on the line of scrimmage as far as that goes. So all kinds of things, all kinds of opportunities as it is, again, when you evaluate a game. Just one or two plays. Itís interesting when you look back and the point is made with our players which I did today again, is every play is so critical in the gameóevery play. It could be one or two plays in a ballgame, I used to say five, but really this year it could be one. One play makes the difference in a ballgame, and itís got to be the one that you make. Youíve got to make it not the other guy.
Q: You mentioned the four-minute offense. The goal is obviously to put a drive together and hold the ball, but you ran the ball on first, two yards, second down, two yards. It looked like you were trying to take time off the clock, then youíre in a predictable down and distance to throw it. Should that drive been constructed differently?
A: Not necessarily. Had you sent your big people in the game, it might have been maybe three runs or (two) runs and a play action pass or something of that nature. But you have to understand, and I think you do, if youíve looked at the Jet tape, they do a really good job when they load up in the box when youíre tight. So that was a consideration. We had practiced and talked about a few plays from that look. But to be able to stay open and to get it third and five or six, third and six as it was, that is actually the situation that we normally practice, which means you know you have to make a play in the passing game to keep the ball. And I think thatís generally the way the league is constructed today with what we call four-minute. I donít see anybody just, maybe occasionally, but you donít get many teams that allow you to just put it down there and run it. You do have to end up throwing it, and thatís the situation we normally practice. Do we make a play there? No, we did not. They did a good job with Beckham on that play, too, riding him outside and not letting him get inside. But thatís something that we do specifically prepare for.
Q: Are teams respecting the play action in those situations in your estimation?
A: This wasnít play action.
Q: In general in those situations?
A: Well, we did do a few things with play action last night. One, which I thought we did, hold the linebackers on the line of scrimmage perhaps. It would be better if we ran the ball better obviously.
Q: Do you have a theory on Rueben Randle. He caught more than 70 balls a year ago and was a real viable threat opposite Odell. Whatís happened with him in terms of not only catching the ball, but it seems like continuing routes and being precise on some routes?
A: Thatís a very good question. Like, for example, last Wednesday Rueben practiced very well. Thursday was okay, not great. He made a heck of a catch to set up the fourth down call just to catch the ball, which was one of those things with people flying around. The ball was thrown in his direction and he made a nice adjustment and catch. Thatís a question which, quite frankly, if I were to answer, I would be speaking to Rueben.
Q: To go back to one thing you said earlier, can you realistically expect Jason Pierre-Paul to catch an interception? Iím not trying to be anything other than just curious about specifics. Have you seen him catch a ball with the club on his hand?
A: Iíve seen him catch itóit was this hand and Iíve seen him do that a couple times. I think he could.
Q: Defensively, the wide open spaces in the middle of the field which have been pretty consistent, is that scheme? Is it talent, which is what you hear outside of this building, you hear an awful lot that the Giants defense just isnít talented enough to defend? What do you attribute that to?
A: There have been holes in our underneath coverage, no doubt. But the couple of passes that ended up 16 and 15 yards right there in that final driveóto be honest, they had a really nice under/over idea against a specific coverage and they caught the coverage twice. And there really is, the linebacker gets caught there because if he comes up, itís behind; if he stays deep, itís in front. So the safety is coming in from depth and the safety ends up making the tackle but he canít disrupt the throw when the linebacker commits to the underneath route. The linebacker did commit to that. In some ways, itís scheme and in other ways we havenít covered anybody real tight in those underneath things, even when weíre playing in zone coverage. Thatís something thatís a constant with trying to improve that aspect of it. And I think we do have some people that can cover, I really do.
Q: Do you have confidence in your defense to make stops late for you guys?
A: Do I have confidence that they can?
Q: Just based on what youíve seen so far?
A: We havenít been able to do it. Iím not going to speak about myóI believe we can and I hope the heck we will, and it better happen fast. Thatís the situation that Iíve been telling you that Iíve tried to avoid putting our defense in that situation.
Q: What gives you confidence, though, that they can get it done in that spot?
A: Just my belief in the guys that are teaching it and the guys that are playing.
Q: Do you have update on Ereck Flowers?
A: Ankle, to the point where he was still on crutches today. I donít think, and I donít have anything right in front of meÖanother sprain, perhaps like the one he had previously.
Q: On the fourth and two play, are you limited in terms of play calling by the fact that running the ball down there, you just have not been able to do that?
A: No. If you remember now, weíve had, a year ago, some decent success running the ball down there. Itís always with a pass and if they take the run away, then it becomes the pass. Last night there were different optionsóone, it was a certain pass if they were in one look and there was another pass if there were in another one.
Q: Your own status moving forward seems to be at issue here going into the final month of the season. Do you feel that way? Do you sense that?
A: No, no, I donít. I donít pay any attention to it. Iím trying to stay focused for the benefit of my team, my coaches, and everybody else. Quite frankly, you can all disagree, but weíre trying to win games the best way we can. To be honest with you, nobody knows my team better than I know my team. So when you sit in judgement of what goes on, itís all been thought out, whether you like it or not, whether itís right or wrong. Had some of these things been things that we would have accomplished, itíd be a little bit different story. The majority of what weíve done, and you well know it, is to try to put ourselves in a position where that last drive is not going to put us in the situation weíve been in four or five times, and obviously it hasnít happened. Weíve tried for touchdowns instead of field goals and it hasnít happened.
Q: How frustrating is that, that you keep making these decisions and it seems like whatever button you press, the execution isnít there?
A: Itís pretty frustrating, to be honest with you. But you know what, Iíve always done it this way, I blame myself.
Q: How do you go about fixing the late game problems? What do you do at this point 12 games into the season to try and fix that?
A: Like I said, somebodyís got to make a play. In order to get out of that jam, and it doesnít take a lotóit could be a fourth and six stop, which we thought we had the right call on when the quarterback ran the ball. And we did and we actually checked out of a line stunt that would have put someone right in front of where he came, itís craziness.
Q: What can you as a coach do?
A: Keep coaching. Keep working, keep grinding, keep planning, keep deciding, keep making decisions based on what we have. Be aggressive. Donít sit back because the world thinks itís not getting done. We know better.
Q: Youíve been in these kinds of situations where things have gone against you and it doesnít look very hopeful at the end of seasons and sometimes youíve fought out of them and sometimes not. Is there something that you kind of search for internally or with your team that you almost enjoy that kind of situation of backs against the wall type thing?
A: Well, it is what it is. I donít know that I search for something. Itís part of my makeup anyway, the competitive nature. Nothing that I would just, other than what you just said, the fact that when youíre in this situation, youíve got to work harder than ever to make sure that everyone believes and stays on the same page. Again, itís team first, not any individuals, which weíve had to talk about that a lot, too. Youíve got to come out swinging and youíve got to be together to do it. It is about team and itís all those intangibles and all those values that youíve preached from day one. Youíve got to keep bringing them up and sharing them with your players and your coaches.
Q: Do you ever think of these five games and how theyíve been lost in the final moments and just shake your head? It is almost an incredible string of events that youíve lost these five. Do you ever think of it?
A: I do and think of the exact circumstance and exactly what happened and why or how it could have been changed, but then I move on. You have to.
Q: You do have, based on the division, on paper, a legitimate shot here.
A: Yes, we do, and thatís something that we continue to drive home, as well.
Q: How hard do you root for the Cowboys tonight?
A: (No answer, smiles)
Q: Jasper Brinkley has had a couple games at linebacker. Can you just comment about the job heís done there?
A: Heís a physical force inside, heís done a good job of that. I think heís learning and playing a little bit better each time out there. Itís timing.
Q: Eli said he had an X-ray, he didnít say on what.
Q: Is there anything youíre worried about going forward?
Q: On the challenge, was that for the two yards? You thought it was two yards?
A: Well first, upstairs, it was the 27-yard line that he stepped out at. So I was upset when I found out it was the 22. But you know what? It still should have been given to us. Because what did they do? They took a timeout away. Itís ridiculous.
Q: Youíre not saying the 27?
A: No, Iím challenging that he stepped out of bounds.
Q: What was their explanation?