Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is met by Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin after their 24-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 28 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Just to again draw together yesterday afternoon, by looking again at the numbers between the first and second half, you can see the quality of the improvement from 92 yards gained by a good Jaguars team in the second half compared to what they did in the first half. I think that we did not stop the run, and for that being our number one objective, that was disappointing. In the first half, I didn't think we got an awful lot done there. We had some miscommunications. We had some alignments that were designed to stop specific runs that we didn't quite get communicated. That was disappointing.
We had a couple of opportunities on special teams yesterday, which was a good thing. We had the opportunity to break out on kickoff returns. Danny Ware had a really nice return that perhaps could've been even better, and then one later on that also could've been a little bit better, actually it was well blocked. I was really glad to see that. Our punter had the outstanding distances but two of the three punts were, I'm sure, ones that he would like to improve upon, and we would like him to. We did a good job of covering kickoffs, not as good as we've been. The ball perhaps not settling as far because of the weather or this time of year or whatever, but we didn't get the goal line kicks with the ball in the end zone type of thing. We probably averaged the four to the seven, which was fine because we had good hang. The ball came out from the 24 to the 31 or so. We did that alright, we've done better the last few weeks in that regard. In regards to that, we were steady on special teams.
Offensively, I think there were a lot of good things done. We returned to being able to make some big plays. I think we had eight big plays in the game. On the third down deal where we were only two for 10, and then the inability to score touchdowns in the green zone, I was very glad that didn't haunt us. We were down there with opportunities deep. We had a ball in the end zone called back for holding. We had another chance to run the ball in, and that didn't work out as well up front as we would like. There wasn't any place to go. We were basically 0-for-3 down there.
Our two scores in the second half were long range, and well done at that. An outstanding play by Kevin Boss on a hot right there, made the safety miss and was able to stay up and go in. Mario had the outstanding play down the sidelines where Eli looked the safety off of him and came to the near sideline, where he was able to catch the ball and score.
The two-point play was outstanding. Ahmad Bradshaw did an outstanding job of power running right there and refusing to be tackled outside of the end zone right there. Both backs gave us good efforts, and we made some yardage in the run game. Our guys knew going in that was the way it was going to be, that we would establish the run and stick with it. We all hoped that would have given us some kind of time of possession ratio in our favor, it didn't work that way. I think they had 72 plays where we had 50. Our efficicency for the 50 plays was pretty good.
The left side of our offensive line with Kevin Boothe was more physical, did a good job and had a few things that he would like to clean up, but overall he did an outstanding job and so did Will Beatty. I thought their contributions yesterday were outstanding and they gave us close to a chance to win.
Two things we talked about were winning the physical battle, and by the end of the game we had established that. We did not turn the ball over. Kevin Gilbride and I told this to the team pre-game that you have to remain faithful to the little things that you do and the values that you believe in. And with Giants football, that's one, win the physical battle, and two, don't turn the ball over, and win the turnover battle. Our percentage of wins when we do win the turnover battle is very, very high. We were able to accomplish that, and it was a game where the fans were into the game. They wanted to help and be a part of it. They weren't real pleased in the first half, and they came alive in the second half. I'm glad we could give them a win at home.
Q: What was the difference yesterday with the turnovers?
A: I think there was a good concentration on ball security. I thought guys did get both hands up on the ball. Certainly that wasn't the example on the first drive with Derek, who was still bobbling that ball and didn't ever get it secured. It's just mental, and it is an alertness thing. It's instinctive, and it has get to be instinctive. We made some progress in that direction yesterday.
Q: By cutting back, does that limit the offense in any way and make it easier to defend? Are you going to have to do that until the reinforcements come back?
A: I think that going forward, we knew the kind of game that it would be. It would be a very physical game, and we knew that we would be involved with some guys that hadn't had preseason, training camp, and therefore, we were going to have to put these people in a position where in a very short amount of time, we could ask them to do certain things and they could make that contribution. Basically, it's the second week for Derek and he was better. You have to admire the way that Michael Clayton was able to work not only on special teams, but on the offensive side of the ball to be in a position where he knew the patterns and what was expected of him in terms of the adjustments to those patterns. For the most part, that held true. He did contribute and do a good job. He blocked well in terms of the kick return and that type of thing. I don't know that it's any different than anything else that you do in terms of who you decide on, who gets the ball and how they get it, and how many times, etc., how the people are going to be used. I think that we were very specific with that, knowing full well that we gave ourselves plenty of offense to win with, but I don't think we overdid it.
Q: Was it gratifying for you to see a couple of players step up and make a pep talk at halftime yesterday?
A: Well, we've had that really on numerous occasions. I'm not sure why it's being so heavily publicized now. It was a good thing, yes. I think that Osi originally began to talk in a very businesslike fashion at halftime with the defensive team and I think his message was that we had to communicate and line up and play the defense called and let's get that straightened around and then I think Justin came on and I think Justin was - I caught maybe half of it, but he was very emotional and he did a great job of using himself as an example. He said, "I'm not satisfied with the way I'm playing and I'm tired of looking around and seeing them run the ball or the quarterback keep the ball and we're not doing much about it and this is something that has to be corrected, we can't put up with this any longer." I think that the defensive guys did rally and then we came together really just before we went out and a few comments were made and we talked about how if we shut them out in the second half, we would have a great chance to win it and we didn't quite shut them out, but it was close.
Q: How much do you have to expand your plays and how much are you going to be able to do that now that your upcoming opponents have seen what you were able to do yesterday?
A: You can expand - there's no question - once a guy has been here. Just as much as Derek has had past experience so you do recognize that, but still once a guy has had some degree of familiarity with your offense and what you plan on doing, you can expand some and it's always determined naturally by game plan and it becomes the idea of how to structure how far out to go and what do you need to win and what within the framework of the offense do you need to win and who is going to be able to execute it? It grows and it develops and that will be the case this week.
Q: How much of the physical effect of Jacobs did you see yesterday?
A: Well, the physical nature of Brandon and the ability to pound it up in there - both backs. I mean, Ahmad is very physical. Everybody knows that. You're talking about a guy who is a punishing runner and he does enjoy that part of the game and he's not an easy guy to tackle. Brandon is a bigger, stronger running back who really does function in that regard as well. Sometimes you see him get so far extended over his legs that if they don't hit him, he's inclined to lose his balance, but both guys are physical. We got some plays in for Danny Ware and we liked that very much and so the combination of guys has proven again to be a good formula for us.
Q: What prompted you to put Ware back there on kickoff returns yesterday?
A: Well, we at first thought that Will Blackmon would be able to come back and then it didn't look like he was going to make it, so we utilized some different people. Darius was doing the punt returning with our backups being guys that had done it before. We've had two or three guys back there - Corey Webster and Aaron Ross - and then on the kickoff return side, Darius was back and Danny was back for most of the week and then we just made the decision that we would split the duties and go from there. Danny has done the kickoff return before.
Q: What does it mean to the team to have a fourth quarter comeback like that?
A: Well, I think that it is a plus provided that it is kept in the right perspective. You come back and win a football game that you've been down at the half and really not having a whole lot of success stopping the other guy when in fact, to be honest with you, the plan was built around being able to stop them, so there were a few things that had to be overcome there mentally, psychologically, the whole bit. So I think it is a huge plus for us because of the goal that we set for ourselves in terms of trying to keep pace here and having responded and played well under those circumstances, at least to come back to play well in some circumstances is a positive and it can be built on.
Q: Do you monitor the standings?
A: Well, like every other football lover in America I certainly - from the standpoint of being a fan - try to keep track of what's happening in the National Football League and certainly I was aware of the games that were played and the games in our conference that were big games, so we do keep track of that, sure.
Q: How does Devin Thomas figure into the mix this week?
A: Well, he came in late in the week and really didn't have much of a chance to get a whole lot of coach time, so we'll be able to spend a little bit more time with him and then try to bring him along.
Q: How did you come out of the game this week as far as injuries?
A: Well, you all know that at one point we did have a couple of things - Brian Jackson broke his left hand and he'll have to play in a splint. He did come back in and seemed to perform very well with that. Dave Tollefson had a little burner and hopefully he'll be able to come back strong with regard to that. Aaron Ross seemed to have some discomfort that was a result of some of the intestinal issues that he had been having and so we'll continue to hopefully clear that up and get that taken care of and at this point in time that is all I have.
Q: Any update on Shawn Andrews?
A: No. I don't have any more information for you on that. The way it worked a week ago was one day he felt good and the next day he didn't, so until there is some real concrete evidence that he can maneuver and that he is pain-free, there won't be a whole lot to say.
Q: Bradshaw seemed to limp off the field at the end. Anything there?
A: No. I don't think so. He is a guy that plays through pretty much anything, so I don't think there's any issue there at all. Nothing was brought to my attention.
Q: Any updates on Diehl or Smith?
A: No. I don't have anything today.
Q: Do you think everything is going to go down to the last week in the conference and division this year?
A: I really don't know about that. I do know that we're in this stage of the season - from Thanksgiving until the end of the season is pretty much where you try to put yourself in position. It's an exciting time and it's exciting to be involved in it, so we'll go ahead. We're in the division again this week with a Washington team that has played very well with the exception of the one week that Philadelphia was playing incredibly well and we'll try to get ourselves ready for another game and it's at home.