Tom Coughlin, 12.09.09

Good morning.  It is another very exciting week in the division.  We had a good solid meeting this morning.  The players are excited.  So here we go.

Q:  Andy Reid got a contract extension today through 2013.  Just talk a little bit about the job he has done in Philadelphia.

A:  He is an outstanding football coach.  He has done an outstanding job for the years that he has been there – multiple capacities.  Congratulations to Andy.  I didn’t know any of that was going on, by the way.

Q:  Can you talk about the importance of following through after the superb effort last week?

A:  Well, that is it.  We have won two out of the last three. We won a good game the other night.  We had great energy. We had great passion.  We played physical.  That is the way we play.  That is the way the Giants play.  And we have to continue that.  For us going forward, it is one game.  But we have a lot of very, very big ‘one games.’  And that characteristic, along with a real concentrated effort to make sure that our preparation is outstanding, that our practices are good, that our focus is great, that our mistakes are way down.  That would give us a very good chance.

Q:  The Eagles have kind of had your number the last three games.  Is there one thread through these three games that you can see why they have won or is it just different things?

A: No.  I’m not going to talk about the three games.  I think we are well aware of the first game here this year.  We gave up a lot of big plays; didn’t stop the run.  And, again, I think that is where it starts for us.

Q:  Have you figured out at all what resonated with your team going into the Dallas game?  Was it that you were playing Dallas?  And the reason I ask is that message – if you can figure out what resonated – how you use that again?

A:  The message has been really constant.  I think that the response was outstanding.  I think the players, having played the previous game, recognized that that wasn’t the kind of football that was going to help anyone and any team.  That was just not a part of what we teach and preach and the quality of the players that we have here. So I think everybody made a concerted effort to be absolutely sure that that didn’t happen again.  And, of course, we are in the division and the number of games is dwindling. 

Q:  Was that performance in Denver "rock bottom?"

A:  No, I don’t think that.  I just think that that was a stark realization of exactly where we were as a team.  And that type of presentation isn’t going to beat anybody.

Q:  Will Michael Johnson and Chris Snee practice today?

A:  No.  Johnson is going to work on the side just to determine where he is.

Q:  It seemed when you started fast this season Eli was playing at an extremely high level.  Is that also part of what it takes to finish strong?

A:  I think anytime you are in the circumstance where you are in the stretch – you are in December – you are talking to your team about playing their best, obviously the quarterback has to play very well.  And Eli played well the other night.  We all know that each one of us can do better.

Q:  Is DJ Ware cleared?

A:  He is.

Q:  Travis Beckum?

A:  He is going to practice.

Q:  When you drafted Beckum both you and Jerry Reese said he was the kind of guy you could rely on in December in the cold and in the wind.  It is one of the reasons why -- you thought his skill set would fit.  Has he developed enough to where if he is healthy he can contribute in this month?

A:  I think he can contribute.  There is no doubt about his athleticism.  This was a setback and it happened on Friday afternoon.  But he has been used on special teams all along.  He is getting better in that regard.  Quite frankly, we did have some offensive planning – plans for last week that did not materialize.

Q:  Also, Eli has at times struggled in the bad weather.  All quarterbacks do, but he has to play in this a lot.  Did you work with him at all in the offseason? Is there anything you could have done to help him get prepared for a windy, rainy type of December game?

A:  You just have to play in it.  He has also played very well in it.  As all people do, depending on what the weather is and what the wind situation is like, that is always going to affect your game, I don’t care who you are.  But he has played well in it and he has had games that haven’t been as good.  So I don’t know that there are any – unless you go to Alaska in the middle of whatever to work on it – it is the NFC East, it is December, it is Giants Stadium, the wind blows.  So be it.

Q:  The first Eagle game was CC Brown’s last start.  Since then, Aaron Rouse has come in.  It seems like he has kind of shored things up on the back end a little bit.  Do you agree with that?

A:  Rouse played well last weekend.  He has gotten better each week.

Q:  He has been solid in the run.  We haven’t seen many balls go his way in the passing game, either.

A:  Well, he did come down and tackle well the other night, for sure.

Q:  But as far as passes, you haven’t seen many go his way.  Does that mean he is covering guys well?

A:  It means he is in his spot and conducting his responsibilities.

Q:  A division game is going to be important no matter what division you are talking about.  But is it your experience that the NFC East, because of the location and history that involves the four teams, is just a little something different?

A:  Well, the tradition - that is a big part of it, there is no doubt.  Teams are so familiar with one another – the rivalries are so great, no matter who it is.  And as you say, it is such a long-standing rivalry.  And the games are so much to look forward to at this time of the year between the divisional opponents.

Q:  Is Chris Snee not coming along?

A:  He is coming along.

Q:  Is there still hope for him?

A:  There is always hope.

Q:  I know the Super Bowl season was a while ago but can your veterans – the way they finished that year – draw on that?

A:  You always hope that.  You always hope that.  I think every team is a new team.  All you have to do is look at the faces.  There are a lot of new faces.  But the veteran players have got to communicate to the younger players exactly what the responsibilities are, along with the coaches, at this time of the year and the way in which these games are played.  We just have to keep, again, reinforcing that and getting better.

Q:  Would you talk about Mathias Kiwanuka, his development and how he has done in recent weeks that may have led to the lineup change?

A:  Mathias is a very, very good football player.  He is a tough football player.  He is a highly conditioned athlete.  He can play any number of positions.  He has played on both sides at the end position, he has played the SAM backer position.  He rushes the passer.  He is unselfish.  I don’t know if you have noticed but the inside play between he and Tuck – he is unselfish in his play there.  He is a very, very good player; a very solid football player.  And I have always looked at it as we had three starters at end.

Q:  When Aaron Ross came back, obviously he did not go right back into the lineup at cornerback.  Is that a reflection on Terrell Thomas and what he has done?

A:  Terrell has played well.  He has played well.  He has played well at the nickel, played well at the corner.  He has done a good job; a solid, solid job.  And we are fortunate.

Q:  Even as Eli moves deeper into his career, do you see progress, continued growth?

A:  Always, always.  There is always progress, always improvement.  Always the more detailed study, the more learning of situations as we go forward and categorizing all of those things and mentally being able to put his finger on them when we need to.  I definitely do.  And it will always be that way.  You always keep learning.  If you stop learning, you are done.

Q:  The play on Sunday down the left sideline, Mario Manningham kind of drifting – and drifted out of bounds – really got driven out by Jenkins there.  If he stays in bounds it looks like it is a touchdown.  We have seen that before with him earlier this year. 

A:  The one going the other way from our tunnel?

Q:  Yes, the left side.  There was an offside penalty on them that negated it anyway.  But it looked like if he was in bounds it would have been a touchdown. We saw him do the same thing against Arizona.  Is that something that you are working on?

A:  Yes, constantly.  

Q:  Are route mechanics something that he still has to ---?

A:  Yes – maintain – just what you are talking about – position; maintaining position so that he can adjust to the ball – holding the corner off rather than being forced outside.  But he is wily enough that if you will notice, he has been able in the past many times to kind of pull himself on top.  And regardless of where he was on the sideline many times – sometimes too close to the sideline --- he still got himself in position to make a play on the ball.  But he learns and he is developing and there are things that obviously every day you have to take a hold of and improve on. 

Q:  When you talk about rivalries, which in this division obviously – is it strange to you – usual or unusual that there streaks such as the one you currently have over Dallas and the one that the Eagles seem to have over your team at the moment – are those usual?  Do you have a theory?

A:  My theory is that every game is a new game.  Every game is a different game.  Teams know a lot of each other.  And there are matchups that are involved always.  But I think every game is a new game.

Q:  Brian Westbrook has been cleared to practice.  When you prepare – he is such a major part of their weapons.

A:  He certainly is and always has been.  They have done a very good job of employing LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver to try to offset the temporary loss of Brian, but I don’t really know anything about what is coming out of there about whether Westbrook can play.  But he certainly is a guy that has been an outstanding player in this series for a long time. 

Q:  Because Michael Vick was so productive for them – it seemed like that was the first time he really shined for them.  Do you have to spend more time preparing for him in the wildcat?

A:  Sure, he is the quarterback – playing quarterback.  Do they have plays designed that he runs?  Yes.  But they also have plays designed where he throws the ball down the field.  So it is a little bit different.  I wouldn’t call it wildcat anymore.  He comes in and he has an opportunity, as any quarterback does, to run and throw.  He does have the option ability and those things that he is well known for.  But if McNabb comes off the field – he comes on the field and that type of thing.

Q:  Jason Witten had a very big game last week against the Cowboys and Brent Celek is a very featured receiving tight end for them.  Is there anything schematically that you are concerned with that is leaving that tight end so ……?

A:  No, but there are other people out there that are – if you go overboard trying to take one thing away, you are giving yourself some problems in other areas.  You can always do something, but if you do, you have to be prepared to --- it is calculated – where are you vulnerable.  Yes, there are certain ways.  (Witten) did have a very good game.  He is a very good player.

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