Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
Postgame vs. Dallas Cowboys, December 10, 2017
Opening Statement: Iím disappointed in the outcome of the game. The only real injury I have to report is Ė you saw Landon (Collins). I donít really know exactly what it is. I know it was an ankle. I havenít had a chance to talk will him, but weíll find out about that tomorrow. I would just say this before I open it up Ė Iím really proud of the men in that locker room. I told them that. After all we went through this week, I thought the way we came out and the way we played for three and a half quarters was something we could be proud of. We do have to figure out a way in the fourth quarter when it gets down to gut wrenching time to make a play or two. Now, Iím going to put a little bit of that on me. I didnít like a couple calls I had in the fourth quarter that resulted in bad plays for us defensively. I donít want that to be on the players. I just talked about, going forward, if they could continue to do what we did this week in the middle of some adversity Ė I thought the adversity revealed a lot of good things in our football team. I do believe that unity strengthens and I saw unity and thatís a sign of a stronger football team in my mind. I would hope that they would continue to do that going forward and then just focus on the next game. So, that was the message, those are the injuries and with that, Iíll open it up.
Q: Did you call the defense like you normally do?
A: I did. Yeah. Nothing changed there and Iíd like to credit the defensive coaches because it was a little bit different. The difference was that when the offense was out there and I was on the line with them just listening and trying to be ready to manage the game, the defensive coaches handled all the adjustments over there with just me chiming in and out, but I thought for the most part that part went pretty smooth.
Q: What did you think of the way Eli Manning responded to being back in the starting lineup?
A: Again, this is what happens to me. Iím not a really bright guy. So, in the course of the game, like plays Ė itís all kind of mixed right now together. But, I know there was one interception there. Iím sure it got bopped around and all, but I like the way offense Ė Iíll tell you, the way I thought Mike Sullivan and his staff did a good job coming up with a good game plan. We moved the ball real well. If my recollection is correct, they drove pretty good the first drive, kicked a field goal. We got it and answered with our own long drive and kicked a field goal that got us right back into a 0-0 game, so to speak. So, I was proud of them in that regard and I know there were times during the game where he got us into some really good plays because Iím listening and I know Iím listening to Sully (Mike Sullivan) and thatís what he does. He does that real well for us.
Q: How do you think Rhett Ellison responded to an increased role?
A: Yeah, I mean, without watching the tape, I certainly canít evaluate it blind. I saw him make a couple catches in there and then we kept him in the game a little bit for certain reasons, certain plays, and it looked like he played solid to me.
Q: You had a couple fourth downs in their territory. What went into the thought process of it?
A: I remember one early. I recall the one in the first half, I believe, because I heard the reaction. But, to me, it felt like it was going to be a field position game, which it really was right into the fourth quarter. When you kind of get that feeling, I wanted to stick with the field position game, back them up. Our defense was playing pretty good at that time. So, I thought it was the right decision. I donít recall the other one, to be honest with you, but maybe I can comment on that in the next couple days.
Q: They caught you in a couple blitzes. What should happen on those plays?
A: Well, I mean, a lot of things. I probably need to better Ė I got overanxious on one of them. Iíll be honest. Thatís how I feel. Now, what you got to know about me is when the play doesnít go right, I always think that there could have been a better call. Thatís just how I am. Now, having said that, we know that whatever the call is, a guy is going to try to make a play, but there was one I would like to have back. The other ones we had, you know, there were a couple things we didnít do quite right that resulted in a bad finish for us, but weíre going to have to dissect and go through it with the players. We can be better. We can Ė look, those plays shouldnít happen. Certainly not that long. We got to get them on the ground. Iím sure the guys feel bad about not tackling them in certain situations.
Q: Will Eli Manning start again next week?
A: Iím not going to comment. I donít know. Iím not going to comment on that right now. That would be my gut feeling. Look, without looking at it and evaluating, but Eli Manning is the quarterback right now.
Q: What was it like being out there in the head coaching role?
A: Look, it doesnít feel good right now because we lost the football game. So, your mind goes back to all the things you could have, should have, would have done. Thatís what happens when you lose. But, I didnít feel uncomfortable. I thought everybody else around me Ė coaches, players, trainers Ė responded really well and to me thatís what Iím grateful for. I mean, I thought the guys on the sideline, theyíre operating an NFL football gamem doing what they were supposed to. Everybody did their job and for the most part, I thought we did pretty good.
Q: You went to check on Landon Collins after he got hurt. What was your message to him?
A: I just wanted to find out what was wrong with him. By then, he had popped up and I thought he was going to be okay, but obviously Ė listen, Landon, he never complains about injury. Heís been banged up all year. I mean, little things. But, you never hear him complain. So, when heís down, I feel like itís something serious. Thatís why I went over there, but it was good to see him get up and weíll see where he is tomorrow.
Q: With 4:40 to go, did you consider going for it when you were down seven points on their 46-yard line?
A: One possession game. Now I recall. Because it was so Ė we talked about it going into the third down, but it ended up fourth and seven and not fourth and three or fourth and two. That was why we made that decision. One possession game.
Q: Where is Eli Apple at this point?
A: Yeah, Eli Ė I talked with Eli. We deactivated him today. The decision there was because he just didnít get enough reps during the week. I talked with him earlier. Heís going to be ready to go next week and hopefully weíre up and running.
Q: So, Eli Apple will play next week?
A: Thatís the hope. Thatís the hope.
Q: What have you seen from some of the new guys like Brandon Dixon and Darryl Morris and others in your secondary?
A: Yeah, Iíll tell you what. Brandon Dixon, to me, has played really good football. Now, heís going to feel bad about the one play at the end of the half. But, heís battling out there. We got him late. Both those guys. They didnít go through any OTAs, they didnít go through any training camp and, yet, theyíve really been pros about everything and they compete. You canít ask for much more than that.