Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
December 27, 2017
Opening Statement: Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas, good holidays. Whatís todayís date? The 27th. So, itís almost the New Year. I guess Iíll have a chance to wish you a Happy New Year, so I donít have to do it today.
Alright, two items first that I know youíre going to want to know about. Listen, I think Landon (Collins) has already addressed what happened the other day. Just real quickly Ė I love Landon. We had a quick conversation this morning and then I had a quick conversation with Eli (Apple) and then all three of us had a really good conversation and it was very productive and Iíll just leave it at that. Itís between them and they were really great. Iíll just leave it alone.
The second thing is that Davis Webb will be the second quarterback going into this game. Having said that, thatís no reflection on Geno (Smith). Last week I told you all that we were going to try to get Davis Webb ready in case we could get him in the game. Thereís no guarantees that we will get him in the game, but he will be the number two on Sunday. Having said all that, Iíll open it up.
Q: You met individually with Landon Collins and Eli Apple?
A: Both individually first and then all three of us together.
Q: Did you get a good feeling when the three of you were together?
A: It was great. It helped me.
Q: Why did it help you?
A: I donít know. I just felt good talking to the guys and I thought it was great.
Q: A couple weeks ago when this started to stir, you said that you would let them handle it. Do you regret not stepping in?
A: Maybe a little bit, yeah. But, I just felt like it was the right thing to do at the time. It was productive.
Q: Do you plan on doing the same thing this week in terms of Davis Webbís reps and the Giants vs. Giants portion of practice?
A: We did do that today. I cut it down. I canít remember if it went to six or seven, but itís not quite as many. I believe Eli (Manning) got the first one of each one of those periods. Thereís two separate periods and then Davis got the other ones. And then Davis and Geno (Smith) did the same thing they do every week where they get all of the Ďlookí team reps. They split them. So, that was the same.
Q: Not much change to Davis Webbís practice routine then?
A: Not from last week, no. You got to prepare as the second quarterback to possibly play in the game, but heís been doing that all the way through.
Q: Do you intend on playing Davis Webb in the game at some point?
A: Eli Manning Ė I got to make sure I stay straight on my Elis here. Eli Manning is the starting quarterback. Weíre going to go in the game to beat the Washington Redskins with Eli Manning and weíll just take it from there.
Q: Why even make Davis Webb the second quarterback?
A: I just think the process of getting him to two and if something does happen then we would have spent some time last week getting him ready and he would be the guy that would go in.
Q: When the quarterback decision was originally made, Eli said that these guys need to play and play substantial amounts rather than late in games. Did people relay that message to you?
A: I wasnít privy to any of that, so Iím really not going to go back to that. This is where we are today.
Q: Has he relayed that message to you in the past couple weeks?
A: The conversations in-house, Iím going to keep in-house. Just please respect me on that. This is what weíre going to do right now. We just think itís good for where weíre at and good for the organization going forward.
Q: What has Davis Webb shown as opposed to what he didnít show last week?
A: No. It was going to take a little bit more than Ė in my opinion. Iím not a quarterback guru. But, it was going to take more than just one week to say, ĎOk, if something happens to Eli Manning, heíll go.í So, we just needed a little bit of time.
Q: What is your confidence level and expectation if Davis Webb does get into a game?
A: I feel pretty good. Iíd like to talk with Mike (Sullivan) and Frank (Cignetti) a little bit and get through the week. Iíve told you this before that heís been preparing. I see him in there all the time. So, there is some comfort level there, but you donít know until you get in a game.
Q: Do you think the Landon Collins and Eli Apple situation can be repaired and can they be teammates that can work together moving forward?
A: Yeah. I certainly am going to keep our conversations private, but based on what I was part of this morning, I would say absolutely.
Q: Eli Apple seemed separated from the defense on the sideline on Sunday. Is there some regret from you guys as coaches and front office personnel that you didnít handle this the best way you could have?
A: No, but Iím not going to get extensive on what we did, how we did it. I just think that is in-house, itís family. I realize this business is very public, but everybody is trying to do the best for the team and for the individual.
Q: Did you have a problem with the way Eli Apple handled himself on the sideline since he was off to the side by himself?
A: I didnít see that. Iím not aware of that. Iím always facing the other way.
Q: Will Eli Apple play cornerback on Sunday?
A: Yeah, I mean, weíll see. We got to go through the week of practice. Weíll see when we get to the game.
Q: Eli Apple played 60 snaps in the game two weeks ago.
A: I donít know if it was that many.
Q: It was. 60 out of the 68.
A: Brandon (Dixon) got hurt.
Q: Eli Apple didnít start the game, but he played the whole game and the next week you said you wanted to keep the continuity. Why isnít he on the field as a first round pick?
A: Well, the way the practices went last week, we felt that the two guys that we played practiced better with the group and thatís why we went in that direction.
Q: So, it was merit based?
A: Yeah. Yeah. No question. No question.
Q: Did you tell Landon Collins that you were disappointed in what he said on the radio?
A: Iím not going to go into the conversation that I had with Landon. Iíd like to keep that private.
Q: Are you disappointed in what he said?
A: Iím not going to comment on that. Landon and I have a great relationship and Iím good.
Q: How much of the stuff that has gone on this season the result of losing?
A: Losing is frustrating and when frustration and emotions get involved, sometimes this happens and you hope it doesnít happen and you hope itís handled in certain ways, but itís part of growth. It was something I talked with the guys about and I do think all of it is growth. I think some good will come out of all of it. I truly believe that. Weíll find that out later what it is.
Q: Guys who performed at a high level last season are in many ways guys those that have disappointed you the most this season. How do you rectify that?
A: Youíre not talking about specific people, but in generalÖ
Q: Janoris Jenkins, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Landon Collins and Eli Apple were all guys you could rely on a year ago.
A: I donít know that I have an explanation for it. Sometimes, when the continuity doesnít click. I will say Ė just speaking defensively here because you brought it up. One thing I realized a couple weeks ago is that weíve had Ė I value this in a defense -- is weíve played with five different mike linebackers. I think thatís hard to keep it, you know, that person in the center. Those great leaders like the Antonio Pierces and other guys that you see around the league. Luke Kuechly. I mean, they kind of keep it all together. Itís hard for all of the guys when that changes a lot. That may be one of the reasons. And then, youíd have to ask the guys individually. Now, I do think that they were Ė like you were talking about Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) who I saw this morning in the training room. I know part of what he struggled with is he had his ankle injury and it never really went away and he fought through it. Landon (Collins) fought through injuries. So, I think that Ė I donít want to make excuses Ė but, I think that had a little bit to do with some of the difference in play. That and a lot of moving pieces is what I remember throughout the whole season. Iím talking about just defensively. Kind of got hard to hit a groove.
Q: Janoris Jenkinsí ankle doesnít affect showing up for practice though.
A: That one incident thing. Can I be honest with you? I really donít want to go back to - I donít want to rehash the wholeÖ
Q: Just in general, it seems like there are so many controversies on the defense this year.
A: Yeah. It all came at once. All separate, individual incidents. Not one reflective of the other. Just all separate.
Q: When you look at Eli Apple as a young player dealing with things both on and off the field, do you see growth potential for him and do you think he can get through this and past this?
A: Maybe I think a little bit differently than most people, but I always believe that in a person, that something positive can happen. There can be positive change. Iím not a person that gives up on people just in general, so I certainly wouldnít do that in this case.
Q: Landon Collins insisted that he wanted to start the final games of the season. What was that conversation like with him when you talked to him about shutting him down and putting him on IR?
A: Well, heís got a broken arm.
Q: Was it emotion for him?
A: Heís disappointed, but he understands.