Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
January 1, 2018
Opening Statement: Happy New Year to everybody. It was a good way to ring it in. I’ll be honest with you, I’m still enjoying the win. Doesn’t erase 3-13, but it really feels good to win.
We just had a team meeting. We talked about the game and the things we did and that was fun talking about it. We talked about going forward, you know, exit physicals and exit interviews and all those things and now we’re onto the offseason. So, to me, I didn’t say it to the guys today, but there’s 19 other organizations having the same meetings today that we’re having. Little disappointed the season is over. One month from now, there will be 11 other teams that will be disappointed in the way their season ended and there will only be one team standing that will be content and happy jumping up and down. The next day, February 5th I think it is. All 32 teams will be 0-0. It’ll be a new season. It’ll be trying to do the same thing, which will be bring us the Super Bowl trophy home to their organization.
Those are my thoughts. I am happy with the way things went yesterday. I was really proud of the guys, the way they played. We handled the elements real well. Rushing the ball the way we did. Playing third down on defense the way we did. I was really, really proud of the way they – it was New York Giants football, in my opinion. 18-10. We win and everybody is feeling good.
Having said that, I’ll open it up.
Q: Did you schedule an interview for the permanent job?
A: None of that has even been talked about. Dave (Gettleman) and I have been just kind of focusing on getting to this year-end meeting and that’s what we did. We knocked that out and, boom, I’m right here. So, I don’t have anything to report on that.
Q: What was Dave Gettleman’s message to the team?
A: A lot of good things. I won’t get deep into it. Really, it’s a question to ask Dave, but I thought he was great. He was being Dave and I think that’s important. Genuine and authentic and he had a great message and I’m sure at some point when you get a chance to talk to him, he can convey that to you.
Q: Do you feel like you got your sea legs back as a head coach being thrown into it?
A: That’s an interesting way – two things when you said that. ‘Thrown into’ – I caught the wind of that and getting the sea legs. I will tell you this. I was honored to do it. I did not want that to happen. I want to keep saying that because I have a great deal of respect for Ben (McAdoo). But, I will say this, that when it did happen, I certainly felt so much more prepared even though it was right in the middle of it than I did on that day I flew from New York to St. Louis and had the press conference there. And I remember going up to my office and then sitting down at my desk and saying, ‘OK, what do I do now?’ because it all just comes at you and you got to move. So, it was more comfortable that way. I wish we had better results in the win-loss column obviously. But, was proud of the way the guys functioned, operated.
Q: What stood out to you during this month in terms of the way the team responded?
A: Well, that speaks volumes there. I go back to 10-10 in the Cowboys game with seven minutes left. That says a lot and after coming off of a really hard week. Everything changes and guys that play in this league for the most part are young. We’re not talking about guys that have been doing professions for a long time. That was not easy on them, yet they picked it up, we acted like pros. Coaching staff did a great job. The people in the building did a great job. We were able to function in a game. We were swinging at the end and then kind of lost a little bit. Philadelphia game was impressive. Wish we had played better defensively, but we’re right there at the end of the game. With one play, we could win it. Didn’t play quite as well down in Arizona, but this game here sure felt good that we could have found a way. I would have felt very empty if we had gone through this month of four games and not having been able to come away with a win because it is a result-oriented profession and it was good to at least get that win one time.
Q: What about the way your fellow coaches responded?
A: I thought Sully (Mike Sullivan) was great. Dave (Merritt) did a great job when he had to step in for me. All the coaches. Just trying to keep your guys – where the season was lost in a lot of ways. There was no playoffs to look forward to. Guys were being professionals. Everybody is playing for their own future. Coaches doing the same thing. So, I thought everybody acted professionally.
Q: How good do you feel for Eli Manning after what he’s been through this season being able to end with a win?
A: No question. I waited there to give him a big hug because I was really happy for him. Getting a win for all of us is important, but the quarterback especially. It was at Giants Stadium. We win the game with him taking three kneel-downs. It ruined our rushing stats. That was the only thing Sully (Mike Sullivan) – that and when he was on the headset, Sully goes, ‘I know this is the right thing to do, but I hate the fact that this is going to go against our red zone stats.’ I could appreciate what he was saying, but we were all enjoying the end of it.
Q: Were you aware of what Orleans Darkwa needed for the big bonus?
A: No. Not at all. I just know when we got out there and he ran the long one and Wayne Gallman was running it and we kept running it. Forty-four rushing attempts is pretty impressive and the offensive line that went in there. The guys that – I think Robbie Leonard – you know, Robbie Leonard works our offensive scout team during the course of the year and I believe that the five offensive linemen that finished this game were all guys that somewhere during the season, at least early, were really scout team or look team guys. So, that was impressive. Eli got us in and out of some plays and helped that. Guys stayed on blocks, runners ran the ball hard. It was really good.
Q: What do you do these next few days while everything is in flux? Do you provide insight in the player evaluations?
A: Yeah. There’s a lot. That’s pretty much the focus right now and that would be the focus of any organization right now is to evaluate your team. Mistakes, what could have been done, what could be done better, changes and I’m here to help Dave (Gettleman) right now and we’ll work through the rest of it. But, the coaches are doing the same thing. We’re going to get together with Ken Sternfeld and Matt (Shauger) and try to get all those evaluations going forward right now.
Q: What was it like for you to deal with suspensions and Bobby Hart, etc. all in one season?
A: Yeah. None of us want to go through that. I don’t clump them all together. I don’t see it as a – they’re all isolated incidents in my opinion and good men involved and we recovered in my opinion from all of them. There were learning moments in all of it. That’s the part I take away.
Q: Does that wear on a team?
A: You’d have to ask the players that.
Q: What about from your perspective?
A: I think we work through it. Everything is not going to be perfect. So, you expect that and as professionals, when there’s a bump in the road or hiccup, you’re supposed to react to it and do it professionally and move forward and I thought we did that for the most part.
Q: What exactly happened with Bobby Hart?
A: We needed a spot to get two offensive linemen up. I could go into all the possible scenarios, but that was the one that was set in front of us and that’s the one we made.
Q: He was your starting right tackle for most of the last two seasons.
A: But he wasn’t able to play. He was hurt. He had an ankle. He was not going to play in the game and that was kind of the reason. He was not going to be able to play in the game. We had to find a spot. It was hard to find three roster spots on a Saturday to get through the game to be able to get people there. So, we made that decision.