HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Monday:
Coughlin: I just have a couple thoughts to talk about today. I think, for one thing, it’s very important for everyone to understand we win and we lose as a team. There is none of this pointing the finger, there’s none of that. I don’t believe in that. What we spent last week trying to do, obviously, our goal—well not obviously, but our goal and our objective last week was to raise the level of our execution on all fronts, on all three phases, knowing full well that when you get to this time of the year, you better be playing your best football as you go through these more difficult games versus divisional, non-divisional, conference, non-conference opponents as you go through the meat and potatoes of your schedule here right in the middle of the year. You’ve got to be playing your best football or approaching that. So that was our goal. We did not accomplish that, obviously.
We had some difficulty on the defensive side of the ball, no doubt, and some errors did occur, but we played hard and their passing game was very sharp, they had the ball right on the money, right where they needed to, they did rush the ball when they needed to, as well, but I can tell you that we continued to battle. I really felt when we scored our defensive touchdown that we were going to win.
The end of the game pointed out another lesson for us, and we do come by our lessons in a very difficult and hard manner, we managed not to finish. We’ve always talked about finish, finish, finish and we needed to finish the game. We tried, even with 36 seconds left, we were trying to move the ball down the field to get our chance for a last-second field goal attempt ourselves. We had a couple of opportunities right there in that last three-and-out drive where the ball was very close, it was right on the finger tips twice, one would’ve given us a big play probably to midfield, another one would’ve given us a play to get us out-of-bounds and keep the ball, but that didn’t happen either.
Then the only special teams thing, which I didn’t like in the game—well, there were a couple things—for them to have a 24-yard punt return at that time of the game and then to have a penalty, a face mask penalty adding another 15 yards, that’s a very, very difficult way to lose and a difficult way for us to have gone in there to a very tough place to play, battled, and yet not be able to come away with a victory.
So what I spoke to our team about this morning was we’re still in first place in our division and we’ve got the Tampa Bay team coming up that just won a football game in overtime, obviously playing much better themselves than they had at the beginning of the year, and so we’ve got to get ready to play a very good Tampa Bay team.
Q: On a day when Eli Manning threw six touchdown passes, you mentioned the fumble return for a touchdown, would you ever envision that this game would go the other way with all the points that your offense and defense all scored.
A: You wouldn’t, unless you were standing on the other sideline watching them put points on the board, too. I mean, remember we’re down three scores twice and we battled back. Obviously, a very, very good score right before the half and then coming back after the half and making the big play to Odell down the middle of the field to give us the tying score, those things were outstanding. We had to scrap and we did. We scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, which normally you’d be in celebration. You’d be talking about an accomplishment that, I don’t care who you are, is very rare for a professional or any other football team to be able to score of that nature in the fourth quarter. We did and we lost the game. There are a lot of reasons to be shaking your head.
Q: The defense has been doing a relatively good job of keeping tight ends at bay. What exactly was Benjamin Watson doing to find the seams in the defense?
A: They run a series of schemes with Watson and with the tight ends, I mean not necessarily just with him, but when they play, mobile tight ends they have a very good running attack but they also can spread you out and throw the ball to people, tight ends, that can run. This guy, he just got in the middle of the field from a 3-1 set, which gave him either crossing to the other hash mark, to the other seam on the other side of the field or right down the middle of the field and he was able to beat us down the middle of the field. There were a couple of times when that occurred. Colston hurt us up the seam one time and then back inside another time when he was really uncontested.
Q: How do you regroup defensively?
A: You go back to fundamentals, you go back to some basics that obviously we struggled with a little bit. A couple times we didn’t line up properly or quickly enough, our communication sometimes was not as good as it should’ve been. I thought our guys basically did a nice job in a domed stadium, especially one of that nature where the noise level is such, but I thought we handled that very well. I just think there were a couple empty sets that they threw at us, a couple times we were late to the line. I think that happened a couple times in the game and those are the things that bother me the most. Get yourself lined up, get your eyes where they belong, play the technique you’re supposed to play, be ready to be a reactionary football player on the snap of the ball, definitely know what your assignment is, whether it be zone or whether it be man, and try to be at the right spot at the right time. So those are the things when issues arise, you’ve got to deal with them. So we will make sure those things get ironed out.
Q: You only had a short period of time with JPP last week and saw some encouraging things. Can you talk a little bit about what you’re looking for this week? What kind of things you might increase with him?
A: We’ll increase everything. We’ll increase number of snaps, we’ve had a couple sessions with him in pads when others are obviously not on the field, so we’ll take a good hard look at that, but we’ll have two good practice days with him and we’ll push the envelope a little bit to test the conditioning level. We probably can’t get, at this point of the season, a real physical practice but we can do some things and if we have to be creative in other areas, we would. But just the advancement of the player and the continuation of developing his conditioning in the uniform and then the ability to deliver a blow, to accept a blow, to have his hand placement be exactly where it has to be, and then, of course, the opportunity for him to gain his timing as he becomes a threat in the pass rush game.
Q: Is there any chance that he can show you enough this week that he could play on Sunday at Tampa?:
A: Everybody words it a little bit differently, but, again, if he practices and continues to advance in the way that he has over the last few days that he’s been with us, if we feel good where he is physically after he goes through this, then that would be a decision that we would be confident in making.
Q: You talked about the alignment problems on defense. How much of that is the fact you had to make the switch at middle linebacker?
A: Some of that is that. Some of that is that. That’s a key communication spot and there were some occasions there where perhaps the communication wasn’t necessarily the way you’d want it to be, but there weren’t many. The guys playing in there, even though you don’t think Brinkley’s been in there much, he’s been practicing, and also the other linebackers are involved in the communication process as well. So it’s not just that one spot.
Q: You spoke to fundamentals, are missed tackles becoming a concern?
A: They’re always a concern. You need to keep them at a minimum. Last week, the New Orleans Saints gained 57 percent of the yardage made in the passing game after the catch so that was a main concern going in, we were prepared with that and we had talked an awful lot about being able to tackle well. Tackling is, obviously, a very big fundamental. It’s the first thing we do every week. We tackle and then the next day, we take the ball away so we’re always practicing that particular fundamental, but when it occurs in a game, then you do have some missed tackles, certainly a concern.
Q: Do you have an update on Prince? Is he getting an MRI this week?
A: No. There’s a bunch of guys who are getting MRIs.
Q: Is Victor Cruz one of them or is he cleared this week to practice?
A: I have no information like that, no.
Q: How about Larry Donnell and Orleans Darkwa?
A: They’re being—all the tests are being done this morning, so hopefully we’ll get something today or tomorrow morning.
Q: On the drive that the Saints tied the game, you had New Orleans at a couple of third-and-short and fourth-and-short, was that just a case of a big physical back kind of just running down the defense at that point? What did you see on a couple of those things?
A: We were there. As a matter of fact, on the first one in their territory, we were in position—Kerry Wynn had really almost got to the point where he had one of the legs of the ball carrier and he went up over the top and made it. That’s always going to be the case like that. It was a physical match right in the middle there and certainly there wasn’t a whole lot of yardage gained, but there was enough to secure the first down.
Q: Did your offensive line not play as well as you hoped they would?
A: I always have high expectations for them. Certainly, they were the group that protected the passer yesterday who threw six touchdown passes. We had 21 runs, averaged 4.1 yards per carry. It’s not as many as I would like, but there’s always—the thing you’re not asking but you are asking is the goal line situations were not just a bowling ball effect where we knocked our way into the end zone. I thought they did a nice job of defending, but I also feel like where we were prepared to make an adjustment there, which really we just never got to because we didn’t get into that type of personnel again. We weren’t inside in the goal line situation again. Would I like to have run the ball into the end zone? Sure, I would. You bet I would. Would I like to see that our short yardage could be accomplished running the ball? Yes, I would and I’d give credit to what New Orleans was able to do in the goal line situation in their attempt to keep us out. We resorted to throwing the ball to score. But would I like to be able to line up and run it in? Yes, I would.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players:
The Elias Sports Bureau changed CB Trumaine McBride’s touchdown from a fumble return to an interception. It was determined that the intended receiver, Willie Snead, did not control the ball enough for it to be a catch. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is no longer credited with a forced fumble.
The Giants and Saints combined for 101 points, making this the second-highest scoring game in Giants history and tied for the third-highest ever in the NFL. The Redskins (72) and Giants (41) combined for 113 points on November 27, 1966.
The 49 points are the most the Giants have scored in a loss in their 91-year history.
The Giants’ seven touchdowns tied for the second-highest total in franchise history, achieved nine times previously, most recently in a victory the last time they faced New Orleans, on December 9, 2012. The franchise record is eight touchdowns in a game, which the Giants have done three times.
The teams combined to throw an NFL-record 13 touchdown passes (seven by Drew Brees, six by Eli Manning).
QB Drew Brees’ seven touchdown passes tied both the NFL record for most scoring passes in a game, and the most ever against the Giants. On November 14, 1943, QB Sid Luckman of the Chicago Bears threw seven touchdown passes in a 56-7 triumph over the Giants.
New Orleans gained 608 yards, the second-highest total ever by a Giants opponent. Chicago gained 682 yards on November 14, 1943, in the game in which Luckman threw seven touchdown passes. Previously, the second-highest yardage total given up the Giants was 577 – which occurred on their previous visit to New Orleans, on November 28, 2011.
New Orleans’ 35 first downs were the second-highest total ever for a Giants’ opponent. The Los Angeles Rams had 38 first downs in a 55-14 victory on November 13, 1966.
The Saints’ 505 net passing yards were a record for a Giants opponent. The previous mark of 488 was set by the Bears on November 14, 1943.
Manning threw a career-high six touchdown passes. His previous best was five against Philadelphia on December 30, 2012.
The six touchdown passes tied for the second-highest total in Giants history. Y.A. Tittle threw for seven scores at Washington on October 28, 1962, and for six vs. Dallas on December 16, 1962.
Manning’s six touchdown passes increased his career total to 276. That moved him past Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) and into 10th place on the NFL’s career list.
WR Odell Beckham and WR Dwayne Harris became the first pair of Giants teammates with at least two touchdown receptions in the same game since October 10, 1993, when WR Mike Sherrard and TE Howard Cross had two apiece in a 41-7 victory at Washington.
The Giants have lost their last five games in New Orleans. The Giants last won in the Superdome in 1993.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday to start preparing for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.