Q: This has been a tough month for you. Could you start with just how this has affected you and what your weeks have been like as things have kind of spiraled here.
A: It is no fun, that is for sure. In terms of your approach, I think if anything, it galvanizes you to make sure you work even that much harder to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to put your players in a position where they have a chance to be successful; make sure they understand what you are trying to accomplish, what the defense is trying to do and how to best go after it. And when it doesn’t bear fruit after the investment of time and effort, then it is very disappointing. But it is important, I think, as a coach that you just continue to show resolve and a positive outlook that things will get turned around as long as we continue on the correct path.
Q: Coach Coughlin has said the green zone has been a focus this week. Do you feel like you are close there sometimes? What do you see?
A: We are about as close as we can get without being successful. Last Sunday, besides the last one, the first two we get down there right on the fringe. We throw a pass and make it second and two on the 22 and run the ball twice and wind up short yardage not getting it, and then the botched field goal. And the next time we come down there we pick up three on a power play. The next time we try a fake go screen, which we had had a lot of success with – throwing the go screen. We thought we would get a better reaction. We didn’t. And Eli wound up just throwing it to the receiver. We lose three and then we throw the ball to Steve and we think we have a first down or fourth and inches, we are ready to go. And we wind up with nothing. And the next two times down there we score until the last time. The penalties just set us so far back it made it difficult. We were close, you’re right. But it is not good enough. The bottom line is that you have to be very precise down there. You have to be more exact there than anywhere on the field. And as the field gets shortened and condensed, it is important that you do everything just about nearly perfect to have some success. And we weren’t quite as good as we needed to be.
Q: There were positive signs. Jacobs’ numbers were good as far as yards per carry. Eli talked about getting back into a rhythm. Is that what you build on?
A: That was the goal. That was the goal going into the game. Again, how can we best put our team in the position to win the game? And one of the things was to get some things with the throwing game that Eli would feel comfortable with; get into a rhythm as you say; quick passes trying to get the ball out of his hand quickly. We had some chances for some bigger plays which we didn’t quite capitalize on – should have capitalized on. We did not. But it did start to force them – put them on their heels a little bit, which opened up the running game which was good to see. And again, the problem is that it is all good strategy. And you put yourself in a position to win. Then the most important thing of all is then when you are in that position you have to take the next step. We took the first step to put ourselves in a good position and then the next step we didn’t quite finish out on.
Q: RE: Coach Coughlin taking responsibility for everything that has taken place. As someone who has been a head coach, do you think that he is handling the situation the right way?
A: Yeah, I think it is very – it is what needs to be done. It is the correct thing to do and it does not surprise me at all that he would do that. That is the type of leader that he is. I didn’t know that he did that, but that is good to hear. But again, it is up to us as the guys that work underneath him to make sure that we carry out that message. And that idea is to implement his overall plan in the way that he would like to have it done. But also to make sure that he players understand the subtleties of it and make good decisions within the framework of that plan, so that again, we finish on top instead of one point underneath.
Q: It seems that the Monday morning quarterback said, "In the last series why – even after the penalty -- why didn’t the Giants go into the end zone and try and put the game away?"
A: When it is first and goal from the 15, it is a little tougher, obviously. You would like to be in that seven or eight yard line. You keep people guessing. Like the first time we kind of got what we thought and we ran it down to the one and got the penalty. That killed us. Now they were smart and they stayed back and dropped everybody in. If we had thrown it into the end zone, it would have been a good chance that it would have been a disaster. Now, what you hope, like with the screen pass, you throw something underneath and you make a run in there. We were calling – as we always do – "do this or that based upon the look." And then if they give you the look that tells you to run, then you hope that you are going to split it and get it into the end zone. But in hindsight you wish – if we hadn’t been as conservative, maybe we would have taken that option away and just say, "Let’s try to throw it." Now, again, I can’t say, "You throw it in the end zone," I think if you throw it into the end zone it is probably picked off and brought back the other way. And that wouldn’t have been real smart, either. Because then all they had to do was drive it down it down and kick a field goal. But there are still other things that you can do. And in retrospect, you wish you had done them.
Q: Given all of the time you guys devoted to what you were going to do during the offseason and now half a season is already complete, how dramatic can the tweaks be as you go into the second half of the season?
A: I don’t know if they have to be very dramatic. I think the margin between victory and failure is not very much. We are right on the cusp. But I think there were – the penalties were a big bugaboo and the green zone has been an area that we haven’t been as effective as you would like to be. And the thing that is really disappointing is our third and short. Our short yardage now is killing us. It affects our ability to hold on to the ball. And the longer you hold onto the ball, the more chances you give our team. And the bottom line is we give our offense enough changes, we are going to make plays. We are doing a tremendous job of helping our team and helping our defense by holding on to the ball. And that is great strategy. But when you are down there, you have to finish it. And that is what we are not doing at the level that we think we would like to be doing it at.
Q: Is Brandon getting enough carries – not yards but carries?
A: Oh, I don’t know. As I said to you early on when all of you were complaining that he was carrying it too much and not doing it well enough, that in the end of the season I thought the numbers would reflect a solid season for him. I think I still feel the same way. When it is all said and done it will all balance out. But they are trying to get --- Ahmad at the beginning of the year was our hot runner and doing a great job. And everybody wanted to get him more carries. And now everybody wants to get Brandon more. You can’t do it all. So you try to split it up. And it is up to our running back coach, who does a great job. And Tom, again, sets the parameters that Gerald operates in. And you just hope that you have the right guy in at the right time.
Q: Danny Ware didn’t touch the ball a lot, but did he show you enough to really be a part of this rotation going forward?
A: He has to be. He can be, as I said earlier on, he has to be a guy that can give us some relief on first and second downs, certainly; but also, especially, on third down. He has to start to evolve into that player. So he has to prove that (a) first and foremost, you can do the protection sufficiently. That is what you are going to do more often on third down than anything else. And then I think you have a terrific runner and you have a guy you can throw the ball to out of the backfield, which would give us a dimension that we are looking forward to having. But he is still getting himself back into ‘in season’ form. And I think that he showed some things and some things we are still looking to knock some of the rust off.