Head Coach Tom Coughlin
December 23, 2015
Good morning. The only thing I’ll say about the incident that occurred the other day in the game that everyone is preoccupied with right now is the fact that to depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one wrong, is not right. It’s not fair, it’s not justice, it’s not the way it was. If you’re naïve enough to think that way, then you better do some soul-searching yourself. Beckham certainly was wrong, and we said he was wrong from day one. But there were factors involved, starting in pregame, which are well-documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. He was provoked, he was out of control, he was wrong, there’s no doubt about it. You’d like that that didn’t happen. But the fact of the matter is, if you know that, the situation pregame with the baseball bat and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there was two sides to this and not just one. And that’s the only thing I’ll say about that incident.
Alright, we’re onto the Minnesota Vikings, a very good football team that’s 9-5—they’re 3-3 in their last six games. They’re one game behind Green Bay in the NFC North. They’re plus-two in the turnover ratio. They’ve only committed 81 penalties, which is second-lowest in the National Football League. I can tell you that they play a good brand of football, and they do not beat themselves.
Their offense is ranked 28th overall, they’re fifth in the league in rushing, which is what they want to do. They run the ball, they throw the play-action pass. They’re fifth in rushing, 31st in passing. Teddy Bridgewater, their young quarterback, is 66 percent completion percentage. He has 13 touchdowns and a 90.4 quarterback rating. Versus Chicago, this guy was 17 for 20 with four touchdown passes and one running play. He did run the ball in for a touchdown as well. Adrian Peterson is their outstanding rusher who leads the league in rushing, leads the league in attempts with the rush. Kyle Rudolph, their outstanding tight end and rookie Stefon Diggs lead their team with 47 receptions apiece.
Their defensive team is ranked 13th—they’re 19th versus the run, seventh versus the pass. They’re fourth in the NFL in preventing touchdowns in the red zone. Everson Griffen, their outstanding defensive end, leads their team with 8.5 sacks. Our friend, Linval Joseph, is there. He has a toe injury. I would think he will be ready to play against us. Chad Greenway, Terence Newman, Harrison Smith—an outstanding array of defensive players as well.
They have a very, very good special teams outfit with excellent production. They’re 10th in punt return at 9.6 with Marcus Sherels. They’re second in kickoff returns at 28.2 with (Cordarrelle) Patterson. They’re second in punt coverage, allowing only a 5.0 per punt return. And they’re 31st in the allowing kickoff return yardage at 27.6. Any questions about the Minnesota game?
Q: How much different are they using Linval Joseph versus how maybe he was used here? And what kind of growth have you seen in him?
A: Well, as I said, there have been three games in a row he has not played. Linval’s a big, strong, physical defensive tackle. He plays on the nose. They feature a nose, a one-technique, a three-technique. He’s on the center most of the time. He’s a big, strong, knock-the-center-back kind of a guy. He takes care of the interior of the line of scrimmage. And he is a good player.
Q: Your strong opening statement, are you more upset at the coverage of this or at the fact the league has singled out Odell and not Josh Norman?
A: I’m done talking about it, thanks. I just made the one statement.
Q: Can you say what you saw or heard during pregame that you said provoked this?
A: No. I saw what you saw. You got it, you got the footage.
Q: You talk about the preoccupation with this, is that a concern of yours in the locker room with your team?
A: The team is looking forward to the Minnesota game and preparing for them.
Q: Have you had the chance to sit down with Odell yet? I know you said you would if you had an opportunity when you can.
A: I talked to him prior to.
Q: Prior to what?
A: The suspension.
Q: Were you aware of any of the pregame stuff while it happened? And if so, did you talk to Beckham and try to calm him down before that?
A: I was standing on the sideline when the individual went by with the baseball bat. But I did not see the entering the ranks and that type of thing.
Q: Did you say anything about a guy with a baseball bat on the field to anybody at that time?
A: I’m done. Talking about Minnesota.
Q: Is Odell here today? Is he going to practice? Is he allowed to practice?
A: The hearing is going on. Do not people know this?
Q: We don’t know if he’s there or if he’s—
A: I don’t either, but he’s not here. Obviously he can’t come here, he’s suspended.
Q: How do you move forward if you have to go without him on Sunday?
A: Move forward…you’ve got to go forward, period.
Q: How big a disadvantage is it if you don’t have him?
A: Well, obviously you’d like to have that player with you. But if in fact it doesn’t happen, we have to think of our team as well, which we’re trying to do.
Q: With Dwayne Harris having the shoulder, would Myles White and Geremy Davis be the guys stepping up?
A: Probably, perhaps.
Q: Are you really worried about Harris or is it sort of like last week?
A: Well, I don’t know. He’s a little bit sore today, I can tell you that. I was expecting that he would be in a little better shape today. It’s Wednesday, we’ll see what happens.
Q: At this point, it’s worse than last week though you would say?
A: I don’t think worse, no.
Q: Is Hakeem Nicks ready to take on a much larger role if he’s asked to?
A: He will have to be.
Q: What do you lose with Nikita Whitlock, who of course was that two-way player and also special teams?
A: I’ll tell you, what he did for the last two weeks as a lead blocker was very good. So we miss that part of it. He did a nice job blocking the linebackers. But he was on all special teams. He was injured actually as a defensive lineman, so we lose that aspect of rotation as well.
Q: So you lose basically two guys, one on each side of the ball. You’re thin on the defensive tackle side. Do you bring in somebody else or do you just work around that?
A: Work around it the best we can. He was used as a special situation defensive lineman. He wouldn’t have been in on first and second down.
Q: And I would assume also at fullback, too, you work around that maybe with a tight end back there?
A: Maybe. Maybe.
Q: How unique is your take on this situation where what happens Saturday night will determine whether you’re still playing for the division crown Sunday?
A: We’ve talked about—we know the circumstances and the percentages. We’ve got two games to play, a two-game schedule. We want to play as best we can, as hard as we can, for two games. That’s it.
Q: Something that a lot of your former players said is that in the past there would be guys on the sideline to make sure that stuff like what happened the other day never would have happened, they would have said something to him assertively.
A: Does this have something to do with the Minnesota game? I don’t think so.
Q: Are you worried about leadership on your team? Do you feel that you have the proper leadership?
A: Do I feel we have the proper leadership? We have three captains that are elected, and I certainly was happy with those. Two of them are injured, obviously, so there’s a little bit of a void there. But the guys that have stepped up have done a good job.
Q: Did you talk to the team specifically about the potential for distraction of Beckham’s suspension and everything that has gone with it?
A: In specifics, no. But they were aware of the hearing or whatever you call it, and the fact that none of us know what the result is. At that point in time, I’ll be sure to make them understand.
Q: What was Odell like when you talked to him before the suspension? What was his feeling on what happened?
A: He felt bad, that’s probably the best way I can say it. He felt bad.
Q: How’s his mindset right now as far as you’re aware?
A: Is this Minnesota?
Q: If he plays, is that not valid for Minnesota?
A: Ask me that question once we find out the answer.
Q: Are you hopeful that this could rally your team? It could be a distraction or your team can rally?
A: I think as strongly as we can bond together and that it becomes recognized, that would be our strength.
Q: In your career with everything you’ve experienced, how have the last three days ranked in terms of attention on not only you, your operation, and obviously your best or one of your two best players?
A: You know, I’m aware, but I’m not aware. I don’t spend time, “What did they say? What did they—.” No, we lost a very tough football game and that’s what I know.
Q: It’s one thing not to be aware of what we say and everything else, but I’m curious if someone within the organization has reached out to the league office to essentially give your side/Odell’s side of the story--?
A: Yes…that has happened.
Q: Have you discussed with them the officiating, and the fact that Dean Blandino said yesterday opportunities were missed to calm this down early?
A: That was shared with everybody prior to the game, before the game.
Q: What do you do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again?
A: Come on. Come on.