New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke to the media Monday afternoon about Eli Manning, his job security and what is next for the Giants.
Good Afternoon. I met with our team a short time ago and we discussed the disappointing and the frustrating loss from yesterday. We also talked about today, a day in which we put the frustration and the disappointment aside and come back to the realization of who we are, our strength as a team. Our strength is in unselfish commitment to each other, to focusing on those aspects of a team sport, the greatest team sport in the world, and the realization that sometimes when you do experience something of that nature, you’re frustrated. You say some things that perhaps you shouldn’t say and you should bite your tongue, not that there’s anything to say about anyone that really didn’t take place or wasn’t a fact. The statements that I made postgame about the defense and about special teams and about questioning the offense… Really it turned out to be it’s not as much effort as it is execution and the execution was very spotty. The performance was very inconsistent and obviously the turnovers and the rate at which they occurred, in a game in which we only had again — for three games in a row a low 50 in terms of the number of snaps we had — ruined any opportunity that we would have for any type of rhythm or ability to sustain any drive. I thought again that our defense played very hard. They weren’t perfect. No one is. We’re all human. There were plays in there that could have been made. The third and 11 touchdown should have never been a touchdown. That should have been something that we stopped, forced another field goal, if you will, at that point in time. Our special teams, although we played hard, we did a lot of good things. We made some nice plays on the punt returner. The punt returner also hurt us. He created some field position for them that even though we had spent a lot of time and effort in preparing ourselves to stop Tate that he did show his ability and gained some valuable yardage with regards to that aspect of it.
As a team, again, we did not win a game. We tried today to realize that the frustrations of yesterday and the disappointments of yesterday have to be a part, after today, of the past and we’ve got to find a way to move on. We have two very important games for us; one away and one at home again. So we look forward to trying to improve and move on from this game. And, to be honest with you, Seattle is a very good football team. They are well-rounded. They have an outstanding running back who we were able to hold under 50 yards. The quarterback hurt us with 50 yards rushing, but they are diversified to the point where they don’t turn the ball over. They have a running game that they can count on. They play outstanding defense. They have a superior group of defensive linemen who they maneuver in and out and they create a lot of problems for you because of their ability and their speed and quickness. I thought their corners played very, very well yesterday. We didn’t have a lot of success against them and so what I’m trying to say is they have a good football team and we’ll take nothing away from them.
Q: Do you have any news on Victor Cruz?
A: No, I don’t.
Q: During this disappointing season, you were always happy about how the team stuck together. Were you surprised that the frustration seemed to come out a little bit?
A: Surprised? To be honest with you, no. There was a lot of emotion going into that game. We were convinced that this was an opportunity for us to gain some respect playing very well against arguably the number one seed in the NFC and so there was a tremendous build-up during the course of the week along those lines. We practiced hard, as we have been. As we got closer to the game and the game was being played at home, there was some obvious emotions involved in that as well, and the idea that we could go out and play together and complement each other was something that had been talked about at great length and so the frustration when in fact it didn’t result that way, it didn’t work that way, the frustration was there. It was very real. It was very emotional. Am I surprised by it? No. I was surprised by some of what was made of it. But we have an outstanding group of guys and they are competitive and it was a difficult loss in a frustrating year, to be honest with you, and so some of that came out. But today is a day of, as I put it, healing again, recognizing who we are.
Q: You mentioned that it was less effort and more execution. Is there a fine line between the two in your mind?
A: I don’t know if it’s that fine. There were individual plays in that game where you saw a breakdown and right away you want to stamp a player. ‘Oh my God, he’s not playing very well,’ and you get this impression. There were some of those, no doubt. The start of the game for us offensively wasn’t very good. It was three plays in a row that were, ‘whoa,’ and it does enter into your mind that way, but when you look at the nature of it and you see the competitive aspect of it, some of it was justified and some wasn’t. Some of the comments were and weren’t.
Q: Antrel Rolle said the offense showed no pulse and some players played with no heart. Those are very cutting things for a player to hear. Do you think that will cause any ill feelings in the locker room?
A: I think that Antrel will make sure that it doesn’t.
Q: Should he say those things?
A: Of course not. That’s not for a public (conversation)… This is a family. You stay within the family. I’m sure he’ll go to the people that he needs to and discuss it or talk it out and it won’t be an issue. But you have to understand in our game, to generalize, you can’t do it. I can’t do it because you’re always going to find someone that it doesn’t apply to and that’s the nature of it. There’s a play here, a play there. Way too many of them and we’re still doing it offensively, tripping over our own feet, but you can’t just blanket anything because you’re going to see an outstanding play. It took us a long time. We tried to trap right away, and I know we missed the guy we were trapping a couple of times because of their speed and ability, and then all of a sudden you get a good one and that’s the problem with trying to say something in general that doesn’t apply to everyone.
Q: When you look at some of the really good stretches of football Eli has played, how do you consider the process to get him back to that level?
A: Well, I think it’s probably going to come in small gains, but I believe it will come. I really do. Don’t forget, he doesn’t operate on his own. The whole package has got to be there.
Q: When you talk about the whole package, do you still have faith in the offensive coaches and the people?
A: Yes, oh yeah.
Q: How emotionally taxing is a season like this on a head coach?
A: It’s very emotionally taxing. It’s taxing in every way, but again, I come to the point where I just believe it’s not about me. You’ve got to be able to reach out to everyone in the organization, but for sure the players and the coaches, and give them the kind of reinforcement that they need to go forward.
Q: Is that hard to do? Ultimately it is your record, your wins and losses. Is it hard for you not to …?
A: Not anymore. At one time, it might have been. This podiums still up here. Nobody sits in the front row I’ve noticed.
Q: You’ve kind of talked the past couple of weeks about who you are in terms of personnel and who you have. Has that changed at any point after watching that game?
A: It doesn’t change in terms of who our roster is.
Q: Does it change who is going to play going forward?
A: We are who we are.
Q: You said you wanted the opportunity to show who you are compared to the number one team in the conference. Are you surprised at the disparity between the two after you had the opportunity to play them and get that test of who you are?
A: I’m not going to answer that so that it sounds as if they’re in another league. Offensively, I’m very disappointed that we weren’t able to play at a higher level than we did. I would say that if you took the turnovers away, maybe defensively we would have proven that we were there, that we could compete.
Q: You got a good look at all of the offensive plays and how your receivers competed. What was your sense on that, specifically Hakeem, because he was involved in most of the interceptions?
A: I think you can always make an argument who jumps higher and so on and so forth. There are times when you would like to think at least you can get the ball knocked down. Then again, perhaps if the ball comes out just a little earlier, a little further, maybe it’s a little bit of a different story.
Q: You said you have your faith in the offense and the offensive coaches. Have you sensed this is kind of a difficult year for Kevin Gilbride, given the pieces that he has lost and obviously Eli has struggled? I can imagine it’s hard to find plays that work.
A: It certainly hasn’t been a connect-all-the-dots from day one type of year. Kevin’s a pro, he’s been around, he’s done this a long time. We try to find ways to take advantage of things. It hasn’t been easy.
Q: If all of the pieces are in place, you believe that his offensive scheme, philosophy, play calling, all of that should work?
A: That’s exactly right.
Q: From this vantage point, it doesn’t look like this offense is even close to being a highly competitive offense. Do you evaluate it differently and see areas where it’s much closer than it appears from the outside?
A: I certainly see what everyone sees and in greater detail than perhaps you do.
Q: Any word on Jason Pierre-Paul?
A: No. I don’t have anything new from that standpoint.
Q: Hillis left the game with a concussion?
Q: When you say you see things in greater detail in the offense, does it boil down to execution? Is it almost as simple as that, almost as complicated as that?
A: Probably as complicated as that. Everybody being on the same page, firing at the same time. You have to have all 11 of them on offense.
Source: New York Giants FootballGiants Tom Coughlin Evaluates Eli Manning by Sports Talk Florida