Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Martindale: What a great time to be a Giant, to be a fan of the Giants. I'm so happy and proud of the defense and the way we played in Minnesota. The two fourth-quarter stops at the end of the game, it was just great to see. And I tell you guys all the time about how much I care about these guys and how close they are and selfless they are. And you saw that Sunday in that game with all those players; whatever they had to do to win the game, and that's what they did. So, with that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: You guys shut down (Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin) Jefferson. Can you guys shut down (Eagles wide receivers Devonta) Smith and (A.J.) Brown?
A: That's tough. The more there are, the tougher it is. I think they got six Pro Bowlers on the offense and probably three snubs. And it's a talented group we're getting ready to face. It's going to be a challenge for us.
Q: What changed from that first meeting against the Vikings where Jefferson was kind of able to get off a little bit? What changed in the rematch there where you shut him down?
A: I think it's a few things. We came at full strength finally, and it was a total team effort. To be able to do that and play some different coverages to try to take him away and the way the guys rushed up front. And what you can't forget is what the other guys are doing. When you're doubling a receiver or you're moving coverage over the top of him, the other guys are winning their one-on-one situations as well. Fabe (cornerback Fabian Moreau) had a great game the entire time. You saw (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott come in and have the big pass breakup on third down. I'm just so proud of them because of the work and execution and concentration and studying and all the things that they've done has paid off for them. And that's rookie or a veteran that hasn't played in a playoff game yet like Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams). I thought he played lights out. The guys up front played lights out. Obviously, Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence), you saw what he did; he took the game over in that last series of the fourth quarter. And when you have guys playing like that, it's a lot of fun to watch.
Q: You didn't complain when all these guys were hurt. You didn't like it, but you just kept going. In the first game against the Eagles, there was no (safety Xavier) McKinney. There was no (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson). And there was no Leo. Do you think the Eagles have really seen what this defense is all about here?
A: I didn't complain to you (Laughs). My wife, on the other hand, Laura, she heard some complaints. We'll wait and see how they view us. I'm just worried about how we view ourselves and going to win this game. In the long-run now at the end of it, being in the playoffs, what it's done is help prepare our younger guys like (safety) Dane (Belton) coming in the game. (He) didn't flinch and played three different spots because I told you it's a position-less defense. Credit to him and the way he studies the game, and he studies our package and their package. And he executed flawlessly. Credit to Rome (defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson) and (assistant defensive backs coach) Mike (Trier), the way they have all those guys prepared.
Q: How much can you do differently, add to? McKinney talked about being dropped into the box in the second half there, more. How much more flexibility, as a coordinator, does it give you to have him and Adoree', specifically, back?
A: The more players you have, the better it is. And you can be flexible that way. That was an adjustment that we made. It was part of our counterpunch there at the end with putting X (Xavier McKinney in the box). That's somebody I didn't bring up. He played fantastic. He ran the post route before Justin Jefferson on that long ball that you guys were all telling me was offensive pass interference, but I can't comment on it. (Laughs)
Q: How did Flott end up in that spot late in the game? Was that intentional?
A: Fabe needed a blow.
Q: So, he was in that spot?
A: Yeah, he just went right out on the field. There was no hesitation, no nothing, because they've been rotating before. And they'll still rotate in this game. Flott's come a long way. I'm really happy to see it.
Q: Did he gain a lot from your regular season finale when he was out there battling with A.J. Brown essentially?
A: I think that any experience people gain, you'd have to ask him that probably. But I just know that he's playing good football for us.
Q: You go from a quarterback, who is really a pocket quarterback (Vikings Kirk Cousins), to this week, the guy who's got wheels (Eagles Jalen Hurts). How much different is it, and how much more of a challenge is it to stop Hurts?
A: Everybody's saying he's having an MVP season, and I agree because he can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with just being a dropback quarterback. He can beat you with a sore shoulder. He can beat you a lot of different ways, and that's a great challenge because there's just a few quarterbacks that can do it that way. And you can have him dead to rights back there n the pocket, and he's a magician. He'll get out of it. I'm not happy for the guy right now because I'm preparing for him. But you can see the work that he put in the past offseason. And where he's at today is, to me, two completely different quarterbacks. Out of respect of the game, you respect that. You can see the hard work that he put in. It's going to be a tremendous challenge.
Q: What about from Week 18 just until now? How much of a different quarterback do you expect? It looked like they were using him differently in that game. He seems to be healthier.
A: He's off the injury report, so I'm expecting Jalen Hurts the MVP candidate. I think if you expect anything less, you're kidding yourself because the guy's definitely a competitor.
Q: How did you approach that Week 18 game because obviously you're playing to win. But you didn't have your full personnel. Did you hold anything back? Did you have to do things differently? Or you were just calling it as you were calling it?
A: We were trying to win the game.
Q: No, I'm saying like schematically, did you call it the same way you'd call it if Adoree' and Zay (Xavier McKinney) all those guys were out there?
A: Maybe. It's one of those things that it gets into the punch and counterpunch. Just same thing we gave the Vikings was a counterpunch, something that they weren't ready for. So, I think you do the same thing when you play an opponent. And now, this is the third time we've played them. We know them. They know us. It's going to be a fun football game.
Q: How impressed were you with Adoree' Jackson? To be away for seven weeks to jump back into the fold and draw Justin Jefferson is no easy task.
A: You know, he shadowed him the whole game. That's the beginning of the team effort, aside from the rush and the other guys holding up and everything else. I am happy for the player, the same reason what I told you all before, and maybe you weren't here. I'm happy for the person because he's worked his tail off. It's fun seeing him smile out on the field again. And he's the number one corner. It was huge for him to come back. It was a big reason. It builds confidence in your entire defense and your coordinator when you have him out on the field. I was really happy for him.
Q: This is something that predates your arrival here, but why has (Eagles running back) Boston Scott been able to basically be a Hall of Famer against the Giants?
A: If it predates my time here, I can't answer that. He's a good running back. They've got a stable of good running backs. I can't answer it.
Q: He scored against you guys in the first game.
A: I know. Just because he scored, I don't think he's a Giant killer.
Q: There's a report, obviously, you're going to be interviewed for a (head) coaching job. Just talk about what it would mean to you to be a head coach in this league.
A: It's one of those things – it's an honor when they put a slip in because I think it's harder to get a head coaching job in this league than being in the senate. And I'm not going to give you coach speak. It's an honor, but we're not interviewing this week. When I came here as a Giant, it wasn't a steppingstone for me. It was a destination. And I love it here in New York. I love the city. I think it's the greatest city in the world. I think it's the greatest fans in the world. And the ownership, the Maras and Tisches, have been great to my family. And honestly, I've been locked in on Philly. We're not interviewing this week. I think that when the time comes, if there's still time when we can do it, I'd love to sit down and talk with them because that's the same thing I did three years ago. And that's how I met (president and chief executive officer) Mr. (John) Mara the first time. I sat down with him, and after that time on, I felt like he was a mentor and a friend. You're talking about one of the titans in the league, and you're working here. You're working in, like I said, the greatest city and the greatest place in the world. It's not a slam dunk anywhere. You just weigh your options and make a decision.
Q: What did you think of the roughing the passer call with Dex?
A: It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter. I had texts just as I'm sure you all had texts after that game. They weren't very complimentary of the call – the text – from all my buddies that were watching the game, coaches and stuff like that. It happens. It's a bang-bang play. The thing that I was proud of was that we just played the next play, like I've talked to you guys about before, and we weren't going to let that affect us. I think it made Dex rush harder.
Q: Did he explain to you that it was for hitting his face or for falling on him?
A: They didn't explain anything to me. They talk to (head coach) Brian (Daboll) about that because, as you know, I got to go to the next call. Like I said, (NFL Commissioner) Mr. (Roger) Goodell has never stopped a game and said, 'Hey, hold on. Wink's pissed. He wants to talk to the officials about something.' They're getting ready to go to the next play.