JASON PIERRE-PAUL MEETING WITH GIANTS…
According to multiple press reports, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is meeting with the New York Giants today. Pierre-Paul will supposedly allow team doctors to examine his severely-damaged right hand for second time since his July 4th fireworks accident. The original meeting with the team was on September 7th. Pierre-Paul believes he can play now but it remains to be seen if the Giants agrees. ESPN is reporting that the Giants discussed reducing Pierre-Paul’s current Franchise tender (approximately $871,000 per week) in September, but Pierre-Paul refused.
HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media by conference call on Monday:
Good afternoon. Just a couple thoughts about yesterday afternoon’s game. The significance of the plus-four turnovers and the fact that we had no turnovers on offense or special teams was obviously huge in the game. We only had three penalties in the game, all three on defense, all three on the same drive. We had a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown. And we had a spark, which I thought was very, very instrumental in our ability to win the game. The spark being, one, DRC and his two interceptions which we talked about, it could have been three. And he had the sideline with the first one, too, if he had been able to hang on to the ball. But his defensive touchdown there was a real spark. Dwayne Harris, his kickoff return was a real spark. He also had a nice tackle on special teams as well. He had a 38-yard pass play which put us in outstanding field position right as we got close to the end of the first half. I thought that our offensive line play and rushing for 132, which was the first time we’d been over that mark this year, but I thought we had some good, physical runs. And I thought Orleans Darkwa gave us a spark. There were a lot of things in the game, as I told the players this morning. We’re real happy today because we won the game. We knew, in the division, the kind of game it was going to be.
We had speculated 35 plus runs in the game, and actually Dallas had 41 runs and they were very good at it. They got after us pretty good in the run game. We knew the physicality of the game, the talent of the defensive team of Dallas, the talent of the kicker and the punter, in particular, and the talent of their offensive line. It had to be the best rushing game that McFadden’s had in quite some while, but you can see the acceleration and the speed—how that fits what they’re trying to do with their offensive team as they go forward. There were many things that we need to do a much better job of. Again, I thought there was a critical drive where we had the ball after coming off our minus-one yard line. We had the ball in a position where scoring a touchdown there would have been key. We were not able to do that. That little bit about the green-zone does continue to bother me. Even though we were running the ball pretty well in that sequence, we didn’t score.
We won the game, we’re excited about winning the game. There’s a lot of things we can do better. We congratulated our team and then, as we always do, we talked about the areas that must be improved, because improvement is the key. We talk about that every week as we get ready to play—we want to play better than we played the week before, each week. It kind of goes back and forth but in this game I thought the major contributions of all three phases and how they complemented each other was radically different from the experience we had down in Philadelphia. So we’re happy to win, we have a lot of work to do.
Q: The last three games or so, the run defense has given up, I think, over 100 yards to the opponents. What have you seen to be the difference these last three games versus earlier when you were holding opponents to under 100 yards?
A: We made some mistakes in terms of our responsibilities and how we play certain aspects of the run. There were some things that Dallas did coming off of a bye week, which you knew was going to happen. They introduced a couple of different thoughts in there. By in large, they blocked us and we’ve got to find a way—and they’re a good offensive team, don’t get me wrong—but we’ve got to do a better job of holding the point, of being where we’re supposed to be from a gap responsibility, of recognizing the style run that’s coming. We lost leverage on the corner consistently. One of the reasons was that as much as you want to tell somebody how fast an individual is, McFadden did just run around us a few times. When he hit a couple of plays off-tackle, we were holding our breath there to try to get him down, particularly when he got started through the line of scrimmage. It’s a number of things—they blocked very well, we were sometimes out of position, and sometimes not maintaining our leverage and our contain responsibilities. Our tackling at times was shoddy. We didn’t get away with block tackles, which you don’t like to see anyway, but some of the people in the secondary were trying to implement that and it wasn’t successful. There’s a bunch of reasons why.
Q: This wasn’t Eli’s most prolific passing game, but he avoided the costly mistake. Can you talk a little about the offensive line’s ability to protect him and keep Dallas out of the backfield?
A: We knew the type of rush we were going to get. We knew how important it was to get the ball off. You adjust your style of play when that’s the case and we did that. The offensive line did a good job of that. There were occasions where I thought that Eli really demonstrated a learning experience when he was under pressure and really had no place to go with the ball and thought more about taking care of the ball than trying to find a way to get us back to the line of scrimmage. Both times he secured the ball to his body and went down. Nobody likes to see that, but it’s much better than a turnover or a penalty. I thought that he did an outstanding job of that. He made an outstanding throw down the sideline to hit Rueben Randle. He made a couple of key throws at key times. Really I thought there was probably one opportunity in the green zone that we did not take advantage of, for whatever reason. He managed the game very well, he made a number of adjustment calls at the line of scrimmage—had a lot to do with more run game than perhaps at any other time this year. From the standpoint of the guy who was in charge of the game and directed the game etc. etc., he did an outstanding job.
Q: Do you think going forward you’ll need more production, more explosion out of that passing game to sustain success?
A: Oh, I think so. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. The issue that we’re having is obvious. We’ve got some guys that are not able to practice full-time and it’s difficult when there’s not practice time to go ahead and just go out on the field Sunday afternoon and play as if you’ve had all those days and those opportunities that you normally get throughout the course of the week where you communicate well. Particularly if you’re introducing something a little bit different, you don’t have that. That’s a little bit of an issue right now and hopefully we can overcome it.
Q: Going back to the running backs for a moment. Obviously you knew what Orleans Darkwa could do, but having seen it now, you have four running backs who can really give you production in the running game. So how do you approach the responsibilities moving forward or how do you use these guys? Do you stick with that committee?
A: Well, committee is a word that—we’re fortunate to have four guys that can play. And of those four guys that can and do play, they also have special teams commitments, which is a huge plus for our team as well. We have a number of guys who have game experience, who some of which have different roles and they’ll continue in those roles, and they will continue to help us on special teams.
Q: Do you think it’s realistic though to use all four guys running the ball every week or is that something you’re going to have to pare down at some point?
A: I think right now it depends on the plan and the type of game we expect and how we strategize and plan on using. But the four healthy guys…that’s a great thing, believe me. When you look around at the different positions, four guys that continue to maintain good health, that helps an awful lot.
Q: What did you see from Darkwa during the week that gave you confidence to put him in there?
A: He had an outstanding preseason. So during the course of the week, he had some carries in first and second down. The coaches felt strongly that he should be given an opportunity. It wasn’t right away in the game, but eventually he played and he played well.
Q: What would you say to the idea that yesterday was not an impressive win or that perhaps you were lucky to win that game?
A: The luck part…there’s a lot of hard work that went into winning that game. It had nothing to do with luck, it had to do with us being in the right spot at the right time. Again, I attribute that to the turnovers and to the lack of penalties and us not turning it over—that’s not luck, there’s a lot of hard work involved in that. So we won the football game, we won it in a forthright manner. I’m not overly concerned with any of those other comments.
Q: As part of an answer yesterday, you mentioned, “Especially when no one thinks you can do it” type of attitude. Does that fuel your group?
A: Occasionally, it does. It’s a known fact that starting out 0-2 and then not playing as well as we had hoped in Philadelphia created more of that. If that is the case, then that’s a position we’ll take. You have to prove the doubters wrong.
Q: Seven games into the season, you’re almost to the midway point, what do you feel like you can hang your hat on with the team? What area of this team—
A: We play hard. We play hard. We play hard, it’s not always pretty. I think that with the kickoff return, the way in which our punt team has operated—it’s unfortunate that we had two touchbacks yesterday, we need to take just a little bit off of that. Balls hit at the one and I think around the three, you need to back that off a little bit to get that ball down inside the 10. But I think we can count on that going forward as well. But we have a bunch of guys who love the game, like what they’re doing, and play hard. That’s a pretty good starting point. Effort is a great starting point for anything. By in large, I think we’re getting very good effort.
Q: By not listing like one of the facets of the offense or defense, are you still learning about what these units are though?
A: No, no. No.
Q: The kickoff return by Dwayne Harris obviously was a big play in that fourth quarter, a momentum changer. How good did you feel for him having such a big moment against his former team?
A: I didn’t consider that part, I considered it a good moment for our team. When he came screaming out of there, we had an entire sideline of people who were not only inspired by it, but they were extremely happy and not worried about showing our joy. We were excited about that.
Q: Tom, are you expecting to meet with Jason Pierre-Paul in the next day or so?
A: Am I?
Q: Do you or the doctors…is he due in to meet you guys?
A: Again, I told you that I would respond as soon as I knew in fact that it had taken place or that Jason was here. To my knowledge, he’s not here at this point in time. When he does, we’ll let you know. And it’s all going to start with the medical.
Q: Do you expect Damontre Moore to be back this week? And if there was any message intended on your part, do you think it was received?
A: Well, again, that stays between the player and I. Damontre Moore is a skilled athlete who we’ll again look at the plan and see exactly where we stand. If we can include him, then we will.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday to start preparing for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.