Dec 282015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (December 27, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DEVON KENNARD PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed linebacker Devon Kennard on season-ending Injured Reserve. Kennard missed two games in October with a hamstring injury and will miss the last five games of the season with a foot injury. He started nine games in 2015 and finished the season with 58 tackles, four pass defenses, and one interception.

Kennard’s roster spot will be taken by wide receiver Odell Beckham, who has had suspension lifted and has rejoined the team. Kennard is the 18th New York Giant on season-ending Injured Reserve.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Monday:

Just a couple of comments on the game last night. I thought in the very beginning that our defense was playing well. We had three punts and a field goal to show for the first 22 or 24 plays in the game. I thought that as the turnovers occurred and as we tried to fight our way back into the game with the onside kick and the fourth and one drop, we continued to create some very bad field positions for our defensive team. That continued pretty much throughout the game as we tried to battle back and didn’t get a whole lot done. We were minus-three in turnovers and we knew going in that this was a team that the way they structured themselves with defense, run the ball, use the play-action pass—they were only plus-two, but they hadn’t really turned it over that much. They played the kind of game that they did not beat themselves and we provided them with opportunities with a touchdown, a ball at the four-yard line. Too many opportunities to have easy scores, to pile up points, and then to eventually put even more pressure back on the offense, which wasn’t playing well. Because we had run the ball fairly effectively, but at the end of the night, 20 carries is certainly not what you’re after, even though we averaged 4.6. We had 0 for 1 in the green zone production and we were very poor on third down with only 1 of 11 on third down.

Our special teams outfit, we tried the onside kick, which was not successful. We later tried another kick which was not supposed to be an onside kick. We were trying to place that ball over the 10 men up front and then have a chance to perhaps run the ball down. That did not prevail as well either.

Our defensive team at the end of the day held the opponent to 2 for 5, 40 percent, in the red zone, 38 percent on third down. We did give up some runs. The 68-yard run and the 39-yard run, I can’t attribute to something that the offense did to contribute. So therefore, those are problem issues. The long run, the 68-yard run, was a run that they had run many times and we stopped it, and utilized this one particular run a number of times. On this last one, the runner got in the middle of a pile and I don’t think we sorted it out very well, and weren’t able to distinguish where the runner was. He cut back to an open lane and that led to the long run. I thought, again, if I had to look back over it, I know our defense played well enough to be competitive. Our offense did not.

Our production with regard to the return-game, which we really were looking forward to, particularly our opportunities on kickoff return, was not there. We did not produce the yardage we wanted. And we let two balls bounce on us where our punt return that we had done this a couple times during the year. I’m not sure, I’ll have to talk to Dwayne (Harris) about what particularly happened there. I know when we made the fair catch signal and it looked like the gunner was going to come in to interfere with Dwayne, when he did not catch the ball, it did not bring about the flag. That ended up being, again, another long roll which created very bad field position for us. That’s basically the way I saw the game last night, and again re-affirmed by what I watched this morning and this afternoon on the tape.

Q: Given the fact that there were no playoff implications on your side, finding out Saturday. Were you pleased with your team’s effort given the fact you stressed playing for pride throughout the whole week? Were you pleased with the way they came out just from an effort standpoint?

A: Well, you’ve got to break it down again. Defensively, it was outstanding. I think special teams was fine. I thought the offense, if we had created some opportunities for ourselves rather than just backing up in pass protection and turning the ball over, that kind of sapped some of the energy from the guys. I think coming out of the locker room, we were fine with regard to that. Even among the players themselves talking about pride and respect and so on and so forth. I don’t have any thoughts about them not being prepared or coming out and playing hard. I just think we sapped our own energy on one side of the ball, and we didn’t create any real positive situations for our defensive team with the field position we presented them with.

Q: You’ve been through this before and you know that, try as you might, the conversation this week is going to be a lot focused on you and your future. Have you addressed that with your team and how does it affect you go through the week?

A: It’s not going to affect anything in terms of how I go about my business this week. I will tell the team not to be distracted by it. The only factor that is involved right now is we have one game left and we have to prepare ourselves to play a Philadelphia team in the division that they know us very well, we know them very well. We did not play well against them the first time around, and we need to play much better at home for our home fans in this return visit. That’s the only factor that regards whatever all the discussion comes. I’ve tried very hard, and you know this for a fact, the situation is not about me. I’m hoping that the players, they’re not going to get centered around that. We’re going to conduct ourselves as we always have. We’re going to work as hard as we possibly can. We’re going to try to put ourselves and our players in the best position we can, and we’ll let whatever happens happen. We’re going to try to play the game to the best of our ability and win a football game.

Q: What does it mean to you that some of the players, including Eli just recently, admitted that they feel like they’ve let you down this season?

A: I feel badly that they feel that way. It’s a shame that they have to be put in the position where they have to respond about something to do with me. Again, it’s not about me. I’m here for them. If you want to break it all down, blame it all on me, I’m the head coach, I’m responsible. We lose, I lose the game for our players. Put it that way, leave it that way. We try like heck not to put these young men in a position where they feel badly about the circumstances that the head coach finds himself in.

ELI MANNING…
The transcript of quarterback Eli Manning’s media conference call on Monday is available in The Corner Forum.

NOTES…
The Giants host the Eagles in the season finale on Sunday. The winner will clinch second place in the division, the loser will finish third.

The Giants will finish under .500 for the third consecutive season, the first time that’s happened since they had eight straight losing seasons from 1973-80.

The Giants will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, their longest drought since they went 17 years about a postseason berth from 1964-80.

The Giants finished 3-5 on the road for the fourth consecutive season.

Quarterback Eli Manning surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his career. Phil Simms and Kerry Collins are the only other Giants quarterbacks to throw for 4,000 yards in a season, and they each did it once.

Manning has thrown 33 touchdown passes this year, extending his career high. His previous best in a full season was 31 in 2010. The 33 touchdown passes in a single season tied for the second-highest total in Giants history. Y.A. Tittle threw for 33 scores in 1962. Tittle holds the franchise record with 36 touchdown passes in 1963.

Manning has thrown 292 career touchdown passes, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Warren Moore and moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the NFL’s career list.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday to start preparing for Sunday’s home finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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