Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
Postgame vs. Philadelphia Eagles, December 17, 2017
Opening Statement: First, Iím going to complement Doug (Pederson) and his football team Ė the Eagles Ė for the win. They got it done in the end. I wish them a lot of luck going forward. Heís a good man. I told the team that I didnít think this was the time to dissect everything right now. Weíll get together as a group, talk about everything we need to talk about tomorrow and then theyíll have Tuesday off. Without getting my eyes on the film or I didnít look at stats or anything, I did think the offense came out and did a nice job. Eli (Manning) managing everything. That drive at the end was special. We all were hoping for a memorable score and a memorable game and a lot of what could have been. But, a 2-11 team beating an 11-2 on the last play would have been special. It didnít happen.
Now, obviously some of the things that Iím going to get asked about Iím going to talk about right now. The special teamsí protection obviously got us in trouble. Defensive tackling was not good enough. I can remember one third down in particular that weíre off the field. That kills you. You guys know that and canít turn the ball over against a good football team. Theyíve proven that if you donít turn the ball over against them, talking about the Eagles, you got a decent chance of winning. Then, thereís a lot of other things in there. I do believe that the fight in this football team was reflected out on the field and my comment to them was if that is the best team in the NFC, which it might very well be, then we went out there and exchanged punches with the best and almost came away with a win, but we didnít. So, having said all that, Iíll just open it up.
Q: Based off the eye test, how do you think Eli Apple did in his first game back?
A: Again, I need to see the film, but I thought he was solid. I donít remember anything that got us in trouble. I do remember this Ė he had at least two really good tackles and heís a really good tackler.
Q: Whatís happening with Landon Collins?
A: Well, Landon went out. He was smart. I have no regrets about having him play. He doesnít either. He tweaked it again and he just wasnít able to go. Heís going to go if he can go. Heís a warrior. Love that man. But, he just wasnít able to go at a certain point.
Q: What was the problem with the coverage with Eli Apple and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie on the touchdown pass to Trey Burton in the first half?
A: Yeah, Iím going back in my mind. I believe it was man, he got picked and I think on that one DRC Ė he was planning on that guy picking and having the help on the throw that goes and it didnít happen. We kind of Ė we made a little bit of a mistake, but that wasnít the only thing. Weíll get that ironed out.
Q: Personally, do you need to string together wins to build a case for yourself?
A: Iím not making a case. Iíll tell you what Iím doing here, Iím trying to get a football team ready to play a game and I thought they did that. When I finished with the team just now, the focus is on Arizona. Thatís what we do in this league. By the time we wake up Wednesday morning and go in that building, itís going to be the same as all the other 31 teams. Theyíre going to be doing the same thing. It wonít matter whether they won a game on Sunday or lost a game on Sunday.
Q: Can you talk about the blocked kicks and how they happened on the same side?
A: I didnít get to - I canít remember exactly where it happened. The one field goal I believe was on the right side. We got to get it taken care of. When we see the film, weíll have a better idea whether it was steps or who didnít punch here or who didnít punch there, but canít have it. This time of year, we need to have that all firmed up.
Q: The blocked kicks came from the same side.
A: I donít have the guys in mind. Iíll have to look at it.
Q: Itís a 12 point swing, so how tough is that?
A: I know. It hurts. It hurts.
Q: How much are you involved in the special teams?
A: Tom (Quinn) does it. Iím not sticking my nose where Iím not an expert at, but we talk about game management, what we would do, what we wouldnít do. Tom and Dwayne (Stukes) know what theyíre doing. So, theyíll get it ironed out.
Q: Were you given an explanation as to why no flag was thrown on the fourth and goal play on the last drive?
A: I was not. Youíre talking about the last play there to win it?
A: I wasnít.
Q: What were your thoughts on that?
A: Iím going to hold my thoughts. Iíd like to see it on tape.
Q: How much does it hurt that this was a game you could have won without the special teamsí mistakes?
A: Any game you lose hurts. What weíre going to go back and end up thinking about and dissecting is we were ahead early in the game and we let them get back in it. I thought we let them get back in it by mistakes that we made and to their credit, they kept playing and battled their way back and then yeah, the special teams miscues put our backs to the wall. Itís tough. Itís hard enough. The margin for error is very small for us right now with all the injuries and what weíre going through and to be making it easy on an opponent, that hurts.
Q: What was the difference for Eli Manning today?
A: Iím not sure what the difference is other than I know thatís him. We know what heís capable of and that showed today. Iíll tell you what Ė I would say this just without watching the film Ė that was a really good front we just played, the defensive front from Philadelphia. And, I donít remember. I mean, Iím sure there was a little bit of pressure here and there, but obviously Eli was getting enough time to function effectively as a quarterback to get us that many points. So, I credit the o-line without seeing it on tape right now.
Q: What did you think worked offensively and what did you do differently?
A: I donít know whether we did anything differently. We talked a lot during the week about the value of a four-yard run and a five-yard completion against this team and the fact that if we could get some of those completions, some of them would turn into yards off the catch plays, which it did. 87 (Sterling Shepard) had one that I can think of. TK (Tavarres King) had one Ė he ran. They had shown that was an edge we were looking for in playing this football team. So, that worked out pretty good. But, I donít know that we functioned any differently. Eli (Manning) still functioned with making some checks. I remember one specifically. He got us out of a call. Put us in a good play. Mike (Sullivan) has been doing a really good job with that and Mike and Eli have been together for so long that when the game plan is fed and Eli bounces it back and forth, I see Eli coming up later in the evening suggesting plays. I think theyíre working real well together and I felt comfortable with the game plan for the most part. Did a good job with it.
Q: I assume Elli Manning is the starter next week?
A: Yeah. You can Ė thatís a pretty good assessment.
Q: What kinds of things can Jason Pierre-Paul do better to win individual matchups and get to the quarterback?
A: Without seeing the tape, I canít dissect what he did or didnít do. I just I know itís tough with dealing with an injury right now.
Q: In general.
A: I donít know that. I got to watch the tape. If youíre asking about today what he could do differently, thatís really hard for me to say here today until I get my eye on the tape.
Q: How impressed have you been with Sterling Shepardís rise to the top of the wide receiver slot?
A: Very impressed. Sterling is a talented guy. Heís battled a little bit with injuries this year himself. The one thing when these young guys have injuries along the way Ė this is what we lose sight of. You get a young guy and he plays a couple games and then he misses two or three and then plays this one. They lose that foundation of all the reps and all the football. Because heís been injured, heís in his second year, but heís not a second year with Ďxí number of games under his belt. So, the more and more play time we can get to these guys, I think the better theyíll get. Your point about the wide receivers is a good one. Having had a lot of injuries, Iím proud of the way the guys have stepped up and played. Catching the ball and getting yards after catch is huge in this league. I thought we did a pretty good job of it.
Q: In a season like this, how much does this one hurt?
A: Itíll probably hurt more later when Iím home with Maria. But, thatís what happens to me. I start reflecting because itís right there in a lot of ways. Early, being ahead and then the game. I think weíre ahead by two at halftime. Am I right? Someone help me out with it. So, we came in at halftime and it felt bad, but weíre ahead. So, we play the 30 minutes of football. We said at the beginning of the game we would worry about the second 30 minutes when we got in there at halftime and thatís what we did. And then we were in there swinging and defense, we just didnít play great. Looking back at it, we just arenít playing good defensive football and Iíve got to look at what Iím doing. We got to look at how weíre approaching things. We need to get better there. I feel bad we let the offensive guys down.