Head Coach Tom Coughlin
December 30, 2015
As we spoke to our team this week, I really gave them a couple of goals. One of which was that our preparation and our focus be as good as itís been all year long in this, our last game of the year, even despite all the things that are going on on the outside. And obviously knowing what took place in Philadelphia last night in terms of Coach Kelly being dismissed. I always respond right away that I donít like to see anyone lose a job. Coach Shurmur is there and Coach Davis is there. Iím sure that theyíll have, after they settle things down today and midstream adjust, theyíll come forth with a good week of practice and be prepared to come here to New York for a divisional game, which is a very, very important game for both of our teams, both sitting at the same record.
The Eagles feature outstanding special teams play. This is the second week in a row that Iíve talked to you (about that). This time, three of their big four are located in the top-six in the National Football League. Theyíre third in punt return, theyíre fourth in allowing 5.1 per punt return, and theyíre sixth in allowing 20.7 per kickoff return. Even though theyíre ranked 24th in their own kickoff return at 21.6, Josh Huff, who is currently their kickoff returner, is at 24.2. Their offense is ranked 15th in the league. You know all about their outstanding playersóJason Peters, Jason Kelce up front. Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, who is getting a lot of work as an offensive player as well as a special teamer, DeMarco Murray, of course, who we know well. The wide receiving group with Jordan Matthews, Agholor, Riley Cooper, tight end Ertz. Sam Bradford, who in five of the last six games has had a 90-plus quarterback rating. Their defense is ranked 29th in the league. Itís kind of difficult to understand that regarding the quality of their front. Their front is outstanding. Of course, itís led by Fletcher Cox, who is having an outstanding yearó63 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits. Brandon Graham at 6.5, Connor Barwin at six sacks. DeMeco Ryans, the MIKE linebacker, and Malcolm Jenkins, the leading tackler on their team, is the strong safety who also plays nickel in their nickel team. Our goal, as I mentioned, one part of it. The other is to have all three phases. Itís been rare this year that this happened, and Iím very disappointed in that. But all three phases play their best game, and that we not beat ourselves. And that we win the last game of the 2015 season here at home against a divisional foe. If that could happenóbeating Philadelphiaóthen we would have split with all three of our divisional foes.
Q: How taken aback were you when you heard about Chip Kelly? There really wasnít a lot of rumblings about that.
A: Actually one of the guys that works for us had been listening to ProFootballTalk and came in and said it. Quite frankly, Iím not surprised by anything in this business, but that one was close.
Q: Do you have any idea what kind of system theyíre going to come out in on offense?
A: I think they continue to play the system that they have. Why would they change? They practiced yesterday.
Q: You talked about addressing your team, how you didnít want to make it about you. What was your message to them this morning in that regard?
A: The message was the goals that I talked about right here and where the focus should be. Thatís basically the message I left them with today.
Q: Your situation, obviously, is a hard thing for them to just push aside. They obviously hear a lot about it. How confident are you that they wonít focus on whatís happening with you?
A: As I asked them this morning, I said, ĎLook, first of all, itís not fair, youíre young men. Iím the head coach, youíre the players. I appreciate the sentiments.í Iíve seen where a couple of you have gotten out of them. I appreciate the sentiments, but thatís not where I want them focused this week. Basically I said, ĎDonít worry about me or my situation. Letís prepare ourselves to play an outstanding football game and try to win a game against the Philadelphia Eagle team.í Hopefully when you ask those questions, they will say, ĎWe are focusing on preparing for the Philadelphia Eaglesí and leave it at that.
Q: Would you at all want your situation resolved before that game or would that not be a help?
A: Before that game? Thatís not anything to do with me. Iím going to prepare myself and our team as best we can for this game, period.
Q: Did you talk to John Mara this week?
A: No. Anyone else have a question that has anything to do with the game?
Q: Is it hard to push aside how you feel personally about uncertainty?
A: To be honest, this is the 16th game of the season and thatís where Iím focused. I wonít let myself go in those other directions because we have a job to do, and thatís what weíre going to do. All these other issues will clear up in time, but not before then. Okay, the questions, I understand what youíre trying to get at. Thatís not my position to say that. I am preparing for this game and thatís the best I can do.
Q: What was it like having Odell Beckham back today? Did he say anything to the team?
A: Oh no. He just attended the meetings and he was very quiet, to be honest with you. Took part in everything. The guys, Iím sure, welcomed him back. He just came in, took his seat like he always does, and we went to work.
Q: Do you expect to see anything different from him this week outside of your meetings?
A: I expect the fact that heís learned a great deal from this situation. And that he will have taken a little of addressing himself in terms of how that happened, and plan on doing a better job.
Q: Do you expect the officials to be on high alert with him now? You saw last week, the second something happened, they ejected a guy (J.T. Thomas). Is that something he needs to be very careful about?
A: Thatís kind of the way it goes in this league. Iím sure.
Q: Does he have to do anything differently?
A: Heís got to conduct himself differently, yes.
Q: Have you spoken to him one-on-one?
A: I will today, yeah. I will. I havenít done it yet.
Q: Did you at any point talk to the league about the ejection of Thomas, saying that it was an overreaction?
A: I talked to the referee when it happened. You could see that it was predetermined what was going to happen if one our players did something. Evidently they did not see the provocation, which a lot of times they donít. Iím not blaming them for that. They donít see what happens first and itís been that way for a thousand years.
Q: Do you go into Sunday thinking you can still learn something about this team considering the circumstances?
A: Sure. Absolutely. I challenged them on that todayóto be poised, to really prepare themselves this week in terms of overlooking all of this, and to show their kind of focus, their ability to segment things, if you will, to understand what can be accomplished in this, our last game. And how they go about it and how our practices go and how our meetings go. The meetings were good this morning, letís see what happens with the practice. Iím hoping that that message will come across loud and clear, be it that they can concentrate and focus despite but whatís going on around them.
Q: How did you think Ryan Nassib did on Sunday night and are you going to try and get him into this game?
A: Ryan did very well at the end of the game. Of course, the circumstances had changed, not that he didnít perform wellóhe did. He certainly did.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on getting more young players on the field than maybe you have because this is an opportunity to see some of them play in game action?
A: How many did you see the other night? Theyíre all running around out there, you needed a scorecard. Weíll keep doing that.
Q: Would you like to see guys like Ryan get more extended action?
A: Thatís not something thatóIím concerned with winning the game first and foremost.
Q: How significant is Jason Pierre-Paulís ankle?
A: He played with it last week, and I would think that he would get it under control and play again this week.
Q: Do you plan on activating Owa Odighizuwa?
A: Weíll see, but thatís a good consideration.
Q: If he wasnít activated, what would prevent that from happening? Is he healthy enough to go out and play?
A: Oh yeah, heís healthy. You should have asked that, you didnít ask that.
Q: I said, ďWhat would prevent that?Ē That would be one of the possibilities.
A: You said, ďHeís healthy enough to play?Ē Yes, he is. Heís been healthy enough. Heís practiced for two weeks. I know you donít go to practice, but heís healthy enough.
Q: You donít let us.
A: Youíre out there, but I donít know if youíre watching.