Tom Coughlin addressed a wide range of concerns in his Wednesday press briefing.
TC: Good morning. As we prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles in the division, a team that’s 12th on offense, 14th on defense. They’re sixth in punt return, they have a lot of outstanding football players, and regardless of what you think, in the last five games they’ve played very well. They had a last-second victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they lost to Washington last weekend the exact same way. Last play of the game, they’re in position to tie the score, they were not able under those circumstances to make the play. Have they improved? Yes, they have improved. Have they made all these adjustments with personnel, coaching, et cetera and still come through this storm very well? I think that they have, and that speaks to the job that Andy Reid has done. This is a physical football team, it is an in-the-division game, it will be a very physical game. My concern, you’re going to ask me about the playoff scenarios and all of that business...my concern is that our team plays well in the 16th game of the year for us. That’s my concern. I would like to see our team play an outstanding football game, a game in which the execution of our team is significantly better than what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. The answers to all of the speculative questions you want to ask, maybe they’ll come at some point, but they’re not going to be answered now. What I’m looking for is improvement in our football team and how we execute offensively and defensively. As I mentioned the other day, what I thought our special teams unit did, I thought that unit last weekend played pretty well. I thought that, by far, they were the one unit that showed the quality of the performance we might have as New York Giants.
Q: How much is the 40-something plays hurting you on both sides of the ball right now? How can you get that going against Philly?
A: Well, how is it hurting in a 41, 47-play game? It means that, number one as I said the other day, our defense is not stopping anybody and our offense is not holding the ball long enough to keep our defense off the field, and doing something to put us in better stead. There’s no question that it’s hurt us. Our third-down production is two-for-ten, our lack of, our numbers are very poor and have been for a couple of weeks. It’s all three phases playing well together. You have a couple of phases that are not doing their jobs right now, and they have to, if we’re going to resurrect a little bit of pride here in our last game.
Q: Now that you hear that (Michael) Vick is coming in, and he brings that element, what was your reaction when you found that out?
A: Michael Vick is their quarterback. Let’s get ready. What other reaction am I going to have?
Q: What are your thoughts on the lack of big plays on defense the last two games?
A: Right, no turnovers. Well, we saw what happened when we got four. We’ve made a big deal about field position, whether it be special teams or turning the ball over. We’ve made a big deal out of that and it’s been very critical. Our five best wins are all the top-five field position games that we’ve played this year. Without the turnovers and without any spectacular plays with regard to kickoff return, punt return or what have you, the field position hasn’t been good and the big play factor on offense…we’re a team that was pretty much going to have eight-ten every ball game, has been reduced to very, very few. Those are issues.
Q: One of the phrases you used when you took this job was "restoring Giants pride," you’re now talking about "resurrecting pride," is that something that has been missing the last few games?
A: Whatever it is, the football has not been what we expected it to be. I’m calling it execution; perhaps I had a bad choice of words. That’s what I talked to our team about this morning, was pride, honor, dignity. Play the game the way we’re capable of playing the game. Finish this season with a game we can all be proud of.
Q: Have you found any answers to the lack of big plays since Monday?
A: No, I don’t think there has been any further evidence. I would remain as I was Monday.
Q: Do you worry that the "pride, honor, dignity" motivation might not work with a team that had hefty goals this season?
A: I think they’re a group of outstanding character people who listen to what is said and I think that it does strike them. No one wants to finish the season like we have the last couple of games. I’m sure that will resonate a little on their part.
Q: Are there any changes that you will make this week in terms of the way practice translates to the game?
A: We’ll see.
Q: If you do win and play well this week, will you be proud of this team this season?
A: Let’s talk about that after this game. Will I be proud of the season? Right now, I have a short memory, and I’ve got these two games. I’m proud of the individuals, I’m not proud of what’s been accomplished.
Q: Will Chris Canty practice today?
A: Nope, not going to practice.
Q: Ahmad Bradshaw?
A: No. They may do a few things; I’m not sure to what extent.
Q: How is Tuck feeling?
A: He’s going to practice today in a limited role, but he’s going to practice.
Q: Osi said there is a high probability that this is his last game. What are your thoughts on that?
A: I hope that’s not the case. As I’ve said all along, I’d much rather play with Osi.
Q: There’s been a pretty big difference of how this team has played at home compared to away.
A: Better at home than away.
Q: Is there any reason for that?
A: I hope it’s because we’re home. Our fans are here. We’re excited to play in front of our fans and I hope that engenders the same kind of result this Sunday.
Q: Do you expect a lot of stuff from Andy Reid that you wouldn’t normally expect in a last game?
A: I don’t necessarily… The situation may call for something. There may be something that comes up, which is a little bit out of the ordinary, but I think that they’ve played themselves to a pretty good spot and that they’ll play the game out and see how it goes. He may have something planned, like we do. If it’s not called for, then you’re not going to see it.
Q: Do you expect Vick to have extra motivation?
A: Well, he’s well rested and he’s ready to go.
Q: Do you expect the Eagles' emotions to be high and you’ll have to tell your guys to match that?
A: You've got to say that almost every week depending on the circumstance.
Q: Was Kenny Phillips not ready to go on Sunday?
A: The decision there was based on the practice, whether or not we thought he was able to perform at a high enough level. We had practiced a bunch of special team guys that if you take a guy down that you have practiced all week, then someone has to fill that role. So that was what it was based on.-press-conference-transcript-new-york-giants