Tom Coughlin: 'I'm Just Happy That We Could Win This Game'

It's a historic first win for the New York Giants franchise here in the brand new stadium. We talked definitely about that. I thought that it is an outstanding win for our team. I thought our defense played the run very well. We gave up some yards in the pass, gave up some yards on third down, but the turnovers were huge and the ability to get the interceptions and to turn them back. Unfortunately we made turnovers on the offensive side of the ball. We didn't run the ball very well. Their defense was very good and always has been a very good defense against the run. We made some plays. We got some points on the board. I thought that no one is very happy about the way we finished the game. We do have a ways to go. We've got a lot of things to work on. I was not pleased with our kicking game - our kickoffs, our coverage team, and obviously the breakdown in the punt protection at the end of the game, which, in circumstances other than these could cost you the football game, so I'm very happy about the win. The players are very happy about the win. There was a lot said going in about this game and about what happened last year and I'm just happy that we could win this game, the first game in this stadium.

Q: You had several sacks at the end of the game, but none in the beginning. What do you attribute that shift to?
A: Well, I think the one thing that you've got to remember is that the plan was set primarily for the run and play action and until it got to be where they were behind by a couple of scores and they were throwing the ball every down, we were pretty much still in the mode of trying to defend against what we set out to defend at the beginning of the ball game, which was the run and play action, et cetera. Now, once they had to throw the ball to get back in it, then we were able to pin our ears back and those combinations of different personnel groups that we played in the game started to get some pressure.

Q: How encouraging was the red zone play today?
A: Well, we've had some good goes in the green and the red zone during the preseason and it carried over. Today we turned them away is the big thing and I think that the interceptions in the end zone when they were pressing so hard to get back in the game were huge as far as our ability to take a deep breath, particularly after that last interception (we threw), which, you know, third and five, you're calling something basically as safe as you can call it and we got a tipped ball - we had three tipped ball interceptions today. Any time you tip the ball in the middle of the field it's going to end up that way. Unfortunately, that's what happened, but the defense came back and bailed us out on that it. It was good. The sudden change idea - they went out, they weren't wagging their tails, they went right to work and they got the turnovers again.

Q: How much did it hurt to lose Kevin Boss so early?
A: Obviously, we've got two tight ends on the roster. And he goes out, right away in the game...we had prepared different combinations with Will Beatty at tight end. It could have been Boss at the backside or Travis, et cetera, and we were forced to use those combinations much earlier than we would have hoped. We also came out of some things that we just weren't able to do so we had to scramble a little bit to get back and narrow in on what we could and couldn't do but we made a nice adjustment there. The offensive coaches did a real nice job of adjusting and I think we were able to go forward.

Q: How is Kevin Boss?
A: I really don't know.

Q: What did you see different in the defense today from the end of last season?

A: What we did was we played the run much better. We were very conscious of gap control. We didn't lose sight of our gap responsibilities. We tackled better. There were some occasions where we were a little frustrated that in the open field we didn't get the tackle the way we thought we would but I think that our people - there is a lot of pride here and I think we prepared well. That's an outstanding running scheme, it really is. That division features an outstanding running game, but we were able to defeat some blocks, to hold our gaps and to get good pressure. When we brought our pressure out of the secondary, I thought that did help today as well.

Q: What are some differences from the old stadium?
A: I think it's a magnificent place. It's a wonderful stadium. Everyone who comes here and visits here and who we played in the preseason or even today with John Fox, they speak extremely highly of our new home and it's a wonderful place to play. It's a little bit different in terms of - the wind was a factor earlier in the game today and it was the first time that we've actually seen that type of wind. We didn't see that in preseason, so it was a good learning experience for us to play.

Q: Which end was the wind coming from?
A: It was swirling, as it normally does here. It was more of a crosswind.

Q: Talk about the special teams play.
A: I did speak of special teams play and I was quick to get off of the subject. We didn't cover kicks very well. We didn't kick the ball very well. Our punter was not good until after the kickoff after the safety, which we did hit the ball the way we've been the majority of the time as he's improved, he did, but we've got a lot of work to do there. We didn't tackle well. We, again, got into some missed tackles on coverage. On the other hand, I thought that Darius Reynaud did a good job and played a couple of those natural things like the bouncing ball, he didn't just get out of the way and let the ball roll to down inside the five-yard line. He did a good job of having a feel for where the coverage team was and whether or not he could be safe in fielding the ball and he did stick it up in there too.

Q: What about Deon Grant and the rotation of the safeties?
A: I like the fact that they're out there playing. I like the fact that they've had a chance and an opportunity to play together and communicate throughout the entire game and have some combinations where Grant was able to be out there too with the three safety set, a very wise and intelligent player that has been in the game and with both Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle and the way they came down today, they gave us a little pressure in the running game.

Q: How big of a difference do you see in this team from last year to today?

A: I saw a huge difference. As I said, they've kind of pointed towards how badly we all felt by the way they worked in the offseason and the way we came through the summer sessions, et cetera, so there wasn't any question about people focused and coming to play and staying with it even when things didn't necessarily go our way. It was kind of a real difficult first half to get going.

Q: You had three tipped interceptions. Eli didn't let that ruin his day. What does that say about him?
A: That really shows the confidence that he has in himself. He was upset about - Eli knows football very well - he was upset about the last one really, but he continued to stay focused and not to let the last play determine the outcome of the next play, which is very important.

Q: What did you think of the atmosphere here? Do you think this will turn into a real home field advantage?
A: I do. I do feel that way. I do think that the fans received us well today. They were a little upset with some things that went on in the first half but I think they were into the game, they were focused, they were in a position to support our team. I like the enthusiasm and I hope that it grows and continues to improve and we're all hoping that this becomes a very, very difficult place for people to come and play.

Q: Do you have high expectations for Hakeem Nicks this year?
A: Well, he came back. He didn't start the game as well as we had hoped but he did come back and he did play through. He got his ankle rolled up a little bit. He went in and did a nice job. He concentrated on the sideline, caught the deep ball, made the nice maneuver on the back side and got himself open for a touchdown there, so it was real important that he come back and play.

Q: How did you guys memorialize 9/11?
A: Well, we don't ever want to forget 9/11. We talked about it throughout the course of the week, what was coming up. We knew about the historic significance of this game here for us, but we also paid homage to those who died in September 11th and we told the players and the players responded very well. We had a two-fold idea. One was to win this game and two was to honor America and honor our city and I think the guys did that today.

Q: What did you think about the pass protection?
A: I did think that although we didn't run the ball very well today, I thought we did protect the passer.

Q: How is Chase Blackburn doing?

A: I really don't know. I haven't talked to anybody medically.
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