Justin Tuck Press Conference, 11.21.11

Q: You were pretty upset last night. Has any of that gone away?

A: A little bit. Put things in perspective.

 

Q: What were you most unhappy about last night?

A: Losing to the Eagles. We had an opportunity to seize a stronghold on the division. Obviously, I don’t know if we would have mathematically ended their chances of making the playoffs or not, but obviously it would have made it a lot more difficult. We just didn’t play well as a football team. We did some great things throughout the game, but again, to win in this league, against opponents like that, you have to start fast and you have to play the game 100 per cent. I think we played it probably 90 per cent, especially on defense. I would have loved to figure out a way to get them off of the field that drive when they went down and got the touchdown. But it didn’t happen and it was frustrating. I didn’t want to talk last night because I didn’t feel like I had anything good to say.

Q: Can you explain why you guys didn’t have the intensity that the Eagles had?

A: Nope, I can’t. Considering what they did to us here last year, considering Sunday Night Football, what’s at stake, having an opportunity to go 7-3. I have no words to describe, I guess, the disappointment of us not coming out and being absolutely on fire to play a football game.

 

Q: How much concern is there with six games left?

A: I don’t know if there’s any concern. There shouldn’t be. The only thing we have to do is win football games. We still own our destiny. We still have three divisional games left with Washington and two against Dallas. We’re still where we want to be, but we can’t afford to play like we did last night.

 

Q: How do you avoid people thinking about second-half collapses?

A: I don’t know. I hope it is in our heads. I hope it’s fresh in our heads, of knowing that we can’t allow ourselves to do that. I think that the good thing is that we don’t have any time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go down to New Orleans on a Monday night game and play a really, really good football team. So we don’t have any time to be down on ourselves or wonder what’s happening here. We have to figure this thing out right and figure it out now. You talk about second half collapses, if we get down in the tanks it could be a historical second-half collapse.

 

Q: The Saints put up 62 against the Colts a couple of weeks ago.

A: They did a lot of things that will get your attention. Obviously, that game they were just clicking. It seemed like they could do no wrong. That’s one of the other reasons that we have to make sure that we put this Philly game behind us, as hard as it’s going to be. You have to move forward. I know it’s cliché, but we can’t do anything to help that Philly game. We can only move forward and get ready to play a great Saints team.

 

Q: You  said you were disappointed, were you embarrassed?

A: I wasn’t embarrassed. We didn’t have the fire that I thought we should have had, but I felt as though we played hard. I saw guys trying to do what was called upon them. I think at times it hurt us. We did a little too much. Instead of just doing your job, guys tried to overcompensate. I saw it in some situations that hurt us. I wasn’t embarrassed. I’m never going to be embarrassed of a football team that doesn’t quit. We didn’t quit. Things didn’t go our way, but you have Prince running down McCoy on the [two] yard-line when obviously it didn’t really matter if he stopped him or not. They got us, but we didn’t quit and we kept fighting. For that, I’ll never be embarrassed. I am disappointed and in some ways shocked that we didn’t come out with that win, but embarrassed, I don’t think I’m that.

 

Q: As one of the captains, how do you get the team to move forward?

A: Just hold guys accountable, including myself. We have to do a better job of making sure that everybody is on the right page. I know a lot of times the coaches get blamed for stuff like that, but I think the leadership has a role to play in that too. We just had a meeting and hopefully we got some things cleared away. I think the best things that you can do after a loss like that is meet with your coaches and see how you could have performed better. You go over things in your head, it’s disappointing and you don’t want to see any of that crap. You take it, you take the medicine and you learn from it. I think today was a good session for us, obviously I can’t speak for the offense, but defensively, we got a lot of things answered. Hopefully we can just come out here next week and just have a good week of practice and put all of this behind us.

 

Q: Before that you seemed to be doing a lot of what you wanted to do.

A: It’s all about finishing. If any team should know about finishing against the Eagles, it should be us. We had an opportunity there to get the ball back for our offense, who had just gone down and scored to tie it. It was just disappointing that we weren’t able to find a way to get off the field. They made some great plays. That catch by Avant, you throw that pass 10 times, he might catch that once. This was their night and we couldn’t figure out ways to get them off of the field.

 

Q: Even on that drive, it wasn’t a cave-in. It was two good plays, one bad play, good, bad, bad…
A: Consistency.

 

Q: Seemed like there wasn’t a lot of pressure on Young?

A: How they blocked us, they did a lot of eight-man protections and even when they don’t, they have a unique way of blocking us and still allowing them to get four guys out with the chips and things like that. It really takes away, in some ways, what we can do as a pass rusher. They made it simple for him. They gave him one or two reads and he was getting the ball out of his hands. Normally when they match guys up like that we’re able to make him hold the ball a little bit longer, but they gave him a lot of little easy ways to go. They didn’t hit a lot of big plays like that offense normally does, but they were able to sustain drives and I think we pressed a little bit in some situations and just weren’t able to get them off of the football field.

 

Q: Do you think the team was overconfident?

A: No, I don’t think so. I hope not. I told y’all earlier in the week, we’re playing a divisional game like that. They’re desperate to get a win. If anything, you better be under-confident is I guess what I’m trying to say. They had nothing to lose coming in here. Obviously they’re confident coming in here considering the success that they’ve had against us. If we were overconfident, then we were foolish.

 

Q: Do you think you’ll be more of a desperate team?

A: I don’t know that desperate is the right word, but I think we’ll be a more focused football team. I know we’ll be a team that knows that that leash on our division is quite shorter than it was or would’ve been if we got this win. Hopefully that bodes well for us coming down [to New Orleans] and playing our best game.

 

Q: Do you think players were hurt by Coach Coughlin saying the run game was pathetic?

A: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask those guys. I know how I look at anything like that, we had trouble stopping the run and we were horrendous at stopping the run earlier in the season and he said some similar things to us. You try to take it as constructive criticism. We’re all competitive and none of us want to be labeled as pathetic, but at the same right, none of us want to put tape on the field that gives any warrant to that word either. I know our offense knows that they have to turn it up and get back to how they’ve been driving the ball and how they’ve been absolutely man-handling football games. Just because we had a rough night last night nobody is going to lose any confidence in us. We know that that offense can be explosive. It didn’t happen for us last night, but how I look at it is that the defense is supposed to pick them up. There have been so many times this year that the defense wasn’t playing well and the offense picked us up. In that right, we should’ve picked them up last night.

 

Q: You’re heading to New Orleans with a guy who can really pick apart a zone defense.

A: Well that will be our focal point in making sure that he doesn’t have the time that Vince Young had last night. That’s easier said than done because they’re going to do some things to try to slow us down as far as in their running game and their protections, things like that. We have to figure out a way because if we allow Drew Brees the opportunity to sit back there and go through his progressions it’s going to be a long night.

 

Q: Are you worried about where this team is?

A: Not yet. I don’t think I’m worried. I’m cautious, I guess, to make sure that as a leader of this football team that I try my best to cross every T and dot every I as far as making sure that we all understand what’s at stake, understand what we’re getting ourselves into, understand that even the minute details of the defense have to be covered and have to be covered over and over again and make sure that every guy on that football field, there’s no hesitation. It’s starting to get into that stretch now where teams are fine oiled machines now. We need to be a fine oiled machine now. That New Orleans offense is going to be a fine oiled machine and we have to match that intensity. They’re going to have that crowd rocking down there and for us guys that have been here, we know what it’s going to be like. We have to come out, hit them in the mouth.

 

Q: Is this like when you played New England, when people were saying there’s no way you can stop Tom Brady?

A: I don’t know what it is about this team. For some reason we play better when people doubt us. In a way I’m kind of comfortable with how we are. I don’t know what it is. We don’t play well as favorites. I hope we’re two-touchdown underdogs or something going down to New Orleans.

 

Q: Does it leave a bad taste in your mouth…

A: Yes. You don’t even have to finish your question. Yes. There’s no good taste in my mouth right now at all, in any kind of way – none, whatsoever.

 

Q: Do you think this team brushed off the 49ers loss too quickly?

A: No, I don’t think so.

 

Q: You seemed like there was a lot of talk like we’ll get them next time.

A: You’re right, there was a lot about that, but I don’t think that was us saying that it was just going to automatically happen. Obviously we know the teams that we have coming up. I think the biggest thing we tried to do last week was not drive home the fact that we let one go in San Francisco because we knew we had a tough one coming here. I think we have to do the same things, but obviously play better come Monday night.

 

Q: Did you think there would have been more of a fire to retaliate for against the Eagles in the right way?

A: Yeah, absolutely. That came up a little bit today as far as player to player.

 

Q: the defense wasn’t on the field, but you saw some of the shots on Eli.

A: Yeah and I’m going to refrain from saying what I should say, but you know where my mind is.

Q: Do you have to prove that this team does not collapse in the second half of seasons?

A: Honestly, we have to prove it. We have to prove it by going out and winning games. If we don’t, then obviously there is something to this second half because that will be another year that we have fallen by the wayside after having a pretty good start.

 

Q: Do you think an extra day off is a good thing right now? What are players going to do?

A: Yeah, I actually do. Me personally, I’m going to go spend some time with my son and just refresh my mind, get my mind right for this six-game haul we have.

 

Q: You said the players talked today, was it a players-only meeting or just conversations?

A: Just conversation.

 

Q: Was the theme of that toughness, manhood, sticking up for your brother?

A: I’m going to refrain from saying what I want to say. The players in this locker room have heard where a lot of us stand on that situation.

 

Q: Were you bothered by the boos?

A: No. It isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last time we get booed in Giants Stadium.

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