Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
December 8, 2017
Opening Statement: We got some pretty good work done. I mean, I thought the guys responded well. It was different. You all know Fridays. This was a different Friday. Some of the guys Ė I was thinking this morning Ė there are some guys that havenít had this kind of practice in pro football, but I think the vets did a good job and I think we got a lot of work out of it. So, having said that, Iíll open it up.
Q: Will you go back to a regular Saturday walk through?
A: Yeah. Tomorrow will be. We wonít even have helmets. Itíll just be jerseys and shorts depending on the weather. Itís supposed to snow, right? So, my guess is weíll be inside, but itíll just be a jog through. Mental practice.
Q: Whatís the biggest thing youíve learned as a head coach and from the first time around until now, what are you doing differently?
A: This was a little different. Normally, in a normal setting, you take the job as head coach. Thereís some time in there. Itís almost like a buildup. Here, it was a thrust. So, what I tried not to do was to change too much or to try to do too many things. One of the things you do learn when you take it the first time, you think youíre going to charge in there and do everything on your own. You got to rely on a lot of other people and weíre lucky here because we have good people. I feel confident in the assistant coaches, the staff. Obviously, the equipment, training room are familiar with everybody and everything kind of went smoothly in that regard and thatís a credit to all the people in the building and I appreciate it. So, trying not to stick my hand or foot or face or brain where it really doesnít belong. Thatís probably the biggest thing.
Q: Youíre empowering other people as well with everyone taking ownership.
A: Yeah. I mean, thatís the way it should be. Certainly in this business of pro football, when players, coaches, staffs, support staff take ownership and youíre right, you got to feed it to them. You got to give it to them and if you can build a couple of wins in there, usually you can get it to snowball. So, weíll try to work on that on Sunday.
Q: Have you determined whoís going to call defensive plays on Sunday?
A: Yeah. The biggest thing is I donít want to disrupt the apple cart very much at all, so Iíll be doing that. Then, weíll take it game-by-game, but thatís the Ė I enjoy that part of it if itís going well. Itís another story when things donít go well, but I donít that to change too much. Mike (Sullivan) will do the offensive calling and obviously Tom Quinn will handle special teams.
Q: Why did you make the schedule change back to the old fashioned Friday and Saturday and what is it about it that works for you?
A: The best way to say that is that I think we can get a little bit more work done. I think this part of the season, I thought our guys were fresh enough that we could do it. There were a lot of good reasons for doing it the way we did before and some of the guys, I think there was a portion of the team that liked it that way. Thatís not why I did it. Iím used to this. When I was a head coach and I was here with Tom (Coughlin), when I was with Andy Reid, when I was with John Harbaugh Ė thatís how we did it. So, more than anything itís a comfort level for me and hopefully everybody else thatís involved will feel that same way. The most important thing is will it be productive for us on Sunday. Weíll find out about that in a couple of days.
Q: A lot of times when youíve faced the Cowboys, it has felt like thereís a lot on the line. Is this a differentÖ
A: Yeah. I would think every time you play them. Youíre talking about the records?
Q: Is this time around a little bit different because youíre going for your third win.
A: Iíll tell you what, I havenít thought that way. Itís been more about playing this game on Sunday that happens to be Dallas. I think thereís a little bit more meaning because it is Dallas. Giants and Dallas. No matter what the record is and Iím being honest when I say this, one of the goals youíre always looking for to achieve is that feeling in the locker room when you win a game. Thereís nothing like that after going through a week of preparation and everybody is, you know, coaches and staff, players. You work a little bit and you peak to that win. That feeling is something that weíre chasing right now. That will be really important to us.
Q: Whatís Jason Pierre-Paulís status?
A: He got a little bit of work in today. He needed to test that hand out. I havenít had a chance to talk to him since he got done, but weíll have to see right now. Not 100 percent sure on that.
Q: Any concern with Sterling Shepard at this point?
A: He looked alright today. He looked like he went pretty good. Until I talk to Ronnie (Barnes), Iím not 100 percent sure, but I thought he worked pretty good.
Q: Can you take any motivation out of the fact that you can knock the Cowboys out of playoff contention?
A: We havenít really talked about that. I donít know that we need extra motivation that way. Itís a football game. In some ways, most people that you play in MetLife Stadium has got to be a faceless opponent. We got to go out there and do our job, no matter what. So, again, weíre trying to find a way to win a football game.
Q: Will there be any kind of emotions or butterflies in the final hour before kickoff since youíre interim head coach?
A: There will probably be some butterflies, but theyíre always there. I mean, even when youíre calling the defense. Thatís the fun part of working in the NFL. Itís big, itís exciting. I remember growing up before there was ESPN and you could only get Saturday and it was NFL Films that was running highlights of the week and that was fun to me. I just enjoy that part of it. So, a Sunday is always fun when you can be involved in the NFL.
Q: What has your experience been like with Jason Garrett in the past since he can relate to what youíre going through?
A: Jason and I are good friends. I got a great deal of respect for him. Somebody when I was talking to the Dallas mediam, whatever day it was this week, somebody had mentioned. I had forgotten that Jason (was an interim head coach) Ė and they said it was like in Week 8. I donít remember what the circumstances were or what the record was. But, I think Jason did a pretty good job going through. He had a full half of the season. When they mentioned that, I said, ĎGeez, Jason is a good friend. I wish I could get on the phone and say, Ďwhat are your suggestions?í But I didnít really think he would give any good suggestions, so I didnít do that. Itíll be good to see him and this is just something Iíve been challenged with, been blessed with, and hopefully itíll be a good thing.
Q: Have you had anybody reach out to you?
A: Yeah. A lot of different coaches. Yeah. Now, theyíre all busy, too. Thatís the beauty of text messages. Iíve gotten a lot of those.
Q: Have you talked to Tom Coughlin?
A: I havenít talked to Tom, but heís in constant contact. You know heís a good text man. Works pretty good at that. Doesnít claim to, but he does a good job.