Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images
Tom Coughlin Addresses Media at NFL Combine: New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Thursday at the NFL Combine. The video of the media session is available at Giants.com.
Q: Andre Williams got to play more towards the end of the season… Where does he excel and what role has he carved out for himself?
A: We have actually used him in all capacities. He is an outstanding runner, so first and second down back, for sure. He has done a good job of learning protections. He caught the ball much better than anybody gave him credit for. Hopefully he is rounding into a guy who can be used for any and all situations.
Q: In the decades you have been in the league, how much has the vetting process changed from when you started coaching to now?
A: It is what it is, as they say. You are aware of everything. The NFL policies have changed. They have gotten more rigid and strict. You are just trying to be sure that there is a great awareness on the part of the people you entertain thoughts about bringing into your program. You are advised that to make sure when you are in a place like this that the conduct policy is understood by the players. That is the way it should be. Has it changed? It changes with the times. We are a microcosm of society. We have our problems just like everyone else, and hopefully we will be able to help educate our people what is not acceptable. There have been changes, for sure.
Q: One of the big decisions you are facing is about Jason Pierre-Paul… Has any decision been made about the franchise tag and are you convinced that he will be back with you guys in 2015?
A: We are convinced that we want him back, without a doubt. There has been a lot of different discussions, and hopefully he is going to remain a Giant.
Q: Is the goal to get something done long-term with [Pierre-Paul]?
A: The goal is for him to be a Giant and play as a Giant forever, and retire as a Giant. How that works out is another issue.
Q: With Victor Cruz coming back and Odell Beckham Jr.’s burst onto the scene… How do you see Cruz affecting Beckham?
A: Two very, very talented individuals, two guys that have been extremely productive. Obviously the more weapons you have, the better the opportunities are. The only thing any of these guys are interested in is winning. That is all we talk about. The complementing each other, complementing our team, helping our team win – that is what it is all about.
Q: How is Victor Cruz’s knee now?
A: He has worked very hard. He looks good. It is a very regimented rehabilitation program. He has done a good job with it. He is where he should be. I think very shortly he is going to start running.
Q: In what ways is [Defensive Coordinator] Steve Spagnuolo a different coach than he was when he was with you before?
A: I don’t know if he is a different coach at all. I think he is a very personable young man. He is very sincere. He is very interested in the people that he works with, the players and the coaches. He is sincere about that. He has had the benefit of being in a couple different programs now. He has run, as a head coach, a football team in St. Louis, as you know. He has been with New Orleans. He has been with Baltimore. His last stop with [Baltimore Head Coach] John Harbaugh was a very good one, a very great experience for Steve. [It] widened his knowledge, his capacity, the broadening of his own thoughts in terms of how he would defend. He has definitely really learned from his experiences, and that is going to benefit our football team.
Q: On a base level, is [Spagnuolo’s] defense going to be what it was for those two years when he was in New York?
A: I wouldn’t be that simple. It will be more sophisticated. There will be more to it. There are areas on our football team, situationally, that have to improve. I don’t know to the naked eye if you will see a whole lot of difference in that regard. I am hoping the production will be a lot different.
Q: You signed your extension around this time last year… Are you going to work on another deal with the Giants?
A: I think that part of it is underway. Hopefully shortly you have some information about that.
Q: Do you have a preferred position for Weston Richburg?
A: He is a center.
Q: Is he going to be a center for you next year?
A: He will have every opportunity to compete.
Q: What was the evaluation of Larry Donnell after the season?
A: He has been very, very productive in one area. I think he has learned an awful lot about what it is to play in this league over an extended period of time. The entire season, the ups and the downs, I think he realizes he physically has to do a better job of preparing himself. We would like him to be a little bit better blocker. He has had huge games as a receiver and does complement a lot of what we are doing and continues to improve and get better in that regard.
Q: You said shortly there would be some news; there has been some talk about you coaching out the last year of your deal… Does that mean you are negotiating a new deal?
A: I am not going to say anything about that. In a short amount of time you will find out about that. You will discover what is going on. I don’t think it is any big mystery. You don’t have to be overly concerned about it being secretive. There is nothing to it, really.
Q: Is that something you wanted, that you needed to move forward, to have some security to move forward here?
A: Security, security? Thank you very much. There are 32 guys that coach one year at a time, I don’t care how many years you have on your contract.
Q: It would be financial security… How important to you is that moving forward?
A: The important thing is to be the head coach of the Giants, and everything else will take care of itself.
Q: Jermaine Kearse’s catch [in the Super Bowl] brought back a lot of painful memories for Patriots fans… Did it rekindle fonder memories for you of Super Bowl 42?
A: [Super Bowl] 42 it did. I thought it related to 42, not 46. I thought the play in 46 was one the finest precision, executed plays you will ever see. The pass, the catch, the whole business. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the execution of that particular play at this level. The two comparable plays are [from Super Bowls] 49 and 42.
Q: What are your memories of the first few combines you went to and how different are they now?
A: There is an awful lot that has changed from the very first ones that I can remember attending – I can remember being in New Orleans with a registry of all the position players that you had to look at. There was literally a film bank that we utilized at first, but in coming here, it has gotten better every year. Certainly the ability to be more efficient is trying to be done as well. There are an awful lot of things that have to be accomplished in a short amount of time, let’s put it that way.
Q: What did it come down to for you in regards to the changes made to the defensive staff?
A: That is going to remain my thoughts on why. I just thought change was necessary.
Q: [Spagnuolo’s] best defenses had Osi [Umenyiora], Justin Tuck and Michael Strahan revolving around… Even if you bring back Pierre-Paul, do you need more pass rushers to really make his defense work?
A: You are always trying to be better. We certainly do believe that would be a great addition, along with some other things, as well.
Q: You also have Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore – Is there a belief that you have potential on the roster?
A: I think so, but we would like to add to that potential as well.
Q: Where is bringing back Antrel Rolle on your priority list?
A: He is an outstanding young man and, to be honest with you, I have never come across a player that was more interested in his team and trying to help his team get better in any way he could. I think countless Tuesdays Antrel was in my office with [questions about] how we can get better, what can we do to get better. Just thoughts going back and forth between coach and player in terms of how our team could improve. I don’t think I have ever been involved with a player who was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve. I admire that very much in him as a young man and a leader. Certainly we would like him to come back. Obviously we do have financial restrictions involved.
Q: What is your evaluation on the development of Ryan Nassib?
A: Ryan has gotten better. If you studied our preseason, there was no doubt that he improved. I see him continuing to improve. He is a guy that works very hard below the surface and behind the scenes. He is in the weight room right now, all the time, pretty much four or five days a week. He studies on his own. He is very, very serious about being an outstanding football player and he is willing to pay the price to do it.
Q: Do you believe [Nassib] can be a starter at some point?
A: I do.
Q: How much has [Offensive Coordinator] Ben McAdoo grown into his role?
A: I think anytime you are cast into that role for the first time there are obvious learning experiences that you go through. The offense, let’s talk about the offense, I thought from the second half of the season on we got better. Of course the last couple of ball games, we had some good numbers. I think that therein gives us hope for the future.
Q: Where were you at this point last year with Odell Beckham? What did you know about him coming into the Combine?
A: You learn a lot more about people here. For me, it is the first opportunity to sit and talk with the player. You learn from that as well. It is a process. It is ongoing. This is a big part of it.
Q: How much did you know about him as a player just on the film?
A: Just that much information. Just a little bit of information coming in, not a lot. I hadn’t maybe done my own research yet.
Q: What about the story of Odell knowing Eli Manning from going to the same high school and passing camp… Did you guys tap into Eli Manning for some information?
A: Not really. You are going to make your own observations. Obviously, that human interest with the same school was an attractive thing. It took a while to even realize that. The evaluation process is totally about the young man.
Q: What do the proliferations of these very specific pre-draft and pre-combine training facilities where the guys are training specifically for the drills – How at all does that affect the evaluation process?
A: You have total knowledge that they are well groomed, if you will, in the drills that are going to be run. Therefore you are not that surprised when they do well in them. The differences are still there. The times are different. The execution of the drills are different. All of those things are recorded and compared.
Q: Does it make you more leery of the so-called workout warriors?
A: I think the final analysis comes from the quality of the player and the evaluation on the tape.
Q: Have any decisions been made regarding Mathias Kiwanuka’s future yet?
A: I don’t know that is has been finalized. I don’t know that any particular decision has been made along those lines.
Q: How is he doing physically?
A: He is working his way back, I think.
Q: Re: Kiwanuka coming back?
A: I wouldn’t answer that right now.
Q: What is the learning curve like in defending the Eagles attack under Chip Kelly?
A: Every day is a new day in that regard.
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