Good afternoon. Still disappointed, that hasn’t changed. I think the players are very somber; they are remorseful because of an opportunity lost. We had many opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We didn’t play well, Dallas played better than we played. We created opportunities for ourselves late in the game, but we weren’t able to capitalize on them. We lacked consistency; we lacked fundamental technique play at the position with consistency pretty much everywhere. I was positive about our special teams play. I think that with our kickoff return team, we do have the possibility of going forward there, and establishing some opportunities in the return game. We did have a nice punt return as well, which was called back due to a penalty, and the penalty was legitimate. Otherwise, offensively we were sloppy with technique, we were not consistent at all, we had dropped balls. We had some opportunities in the run game, but we didn’t seem to be able to push the line of scrimmage enough to crack the runner through the line of scrimmage. We’ll continue to work on that. We’re still very disappointed, obviously, in the goal line aspect of our game, with the ball on the one-yard line and the inability to score. Simple fact of the matter is, defensively, they score three of the four times they had the ball in the second half. That is a concern. They did have the one breakout run, which was an outstanding individual play, in which we had our arms around the runner twice, and we had many people over in that direction, but we weren’t able to bring the ball carrier down. We had, I thought, a great chance when we created the first and 30 situation, that would have even been a most difficult field goal at that time, for them to score with one play over the top of us that way, which has been done in preseason, and for us not to learn something from that is very disappointing for me. There will be a renewed conviction about preparation and practice, we do know that we have a lot of work to do. I think that the players, their eyes are open to the fact that we lost a football game that we certainly thought we had a chance to win. Had our play been a little bit better, we may have been able to do something about the outcome.
Q: Is it alarming that some of the traits from the 7-7 team emerged this week rather than the 6-0 team’s qualities?
Coughlin: Alarming is probably a good word. Upsetting, that we would make the run we did and come back to some of these issues. Now that’s not taking anything away from Dallas about their ability. Their defensive football team, their offensive team, with the addition of their two new guards and the runner healthy again, they’ve got a very good team, there’s no question about that, but we know that. And when we played them twice a year ago, they had a very good team. Disappointed because the idea of us coming into the regular season full speed ahead with our issues under control, that’s obviously not the case.
Q: Do you second-guess yourself about how you prepared for this game?
Coughlin: I’m responsible for the losses. We win and lose them together, but when we lose them, it’s me, the head coach. When we win them it’s the players. That’s just the way it is. Certainly, we’re looking hard at every aspect. We’re challenging our team as to whether or not all the time that we are utilizing whether it be jog through, meetings, practices, or whatever, whether it’s being used properly. There’s a degree of accountability for everybody. It starts with me obviously, and the coaches as well. There’s obviously some technique work going on that’s not good enough. There isn’t any question if I’m looking at it. Yeah I’m looking at it, and I’m not shying away. Anytime a team doesn’t play as the way they should, it’s my responsibility.
Q: Was a big theme of your message to the team how time wasn’t being utilized properly?
Coughlin: It was. It was.
Q: How did you present it?
Coughlin: Just like I’m presenting it to you. Two of the three practices last week, frankly, weren’t good enough.
Q: Thoughts on how Wilson can earn your confidence back?
Coughlin: Well he certainly has earned some confidence in the kickoff return area, and ball security is a huge issue, and ball security was an issue when he first came here, and we’ve been trying hard to make sure it’s not an issue. We have a little work to do.
Q: Has he been fumbling at all in practice?
Coughlin: No, but you’re not tackling in practice either. You’re stripping, but you’re not tackling.
Q: Did you think he was carrying the ball carelessly?
Coughlin: They’re coming for the ball. Whether it’s loosey goosey or high and tight or whatever, you’ve got to hang on to the ball. You’ve got to be aware of where the enemy is as he closes in on you, and if it’s a bunch of folks, you have to get two hands on the ball, not just one. It came out, and quite frankly, that was a drive that some decent things were happening.
Q: Did you lose trust in him after that play?
Coughlin: It’s more, let the veteran play, and let’s hope we don’t have another occasion to shoot ourselves in the foot.
Re: Bradshaw carrying the load the rest of the season, after handling every rushing attempt after Wilson’s fumble
Coughlin: We had the all-impressive number of 54 snaps. I think most of us could handle 52 snaps. If it works out that, I don’t necessarily want it to work out that way, we have designed things for David to do right now. We will continue to do that; we’ll continue to build. He was very upset on the sideline about what happened, I will give him credit for that. He was deeply, deeply sorry for what happened. Unfortunately, it happened. Everybody wants to say, "Oh you didn’t play him after that." We’re playing the opening game of the year, it’s a divisional game, we were driving the ball; we’re going to be a little bit reluctant. This is not preseason, "let’s go for stage two here," it’s business now, and the ball is…In nine years we’re 46-9, 84% wins when we win the turnover battle. Last night it was even, they threw the pick that should’ve been a touchdown.
Q: Why was Beatty active, but didn’t start?
Coughlin: He hadn’t practiced enough.
Q: Did he come out of the game with no further back issues?
Coughlin: Seemed to do ok.
Q: Concerns with other injured players
Coughlin: Yes, you want to ask?
Q: Michael Coe?
Coughlin: Naturally. Anytime you have a corner, he’s had this issue before, now it’s on the other side. I don’t understand it. I didn’t know there was a hamstring till about five years ago. That’s all we hear, you have to be able to take the field and play this game. Somehow, some way, people stay out there. We’re in a position where we need all the help we can get back there.
Q: Keith Rivers?
Coughlin: Rivers has played through this; he had it in training camp. He’ll find a way to get back in the fray. A couple of days, we have a couple of days that will help, a lot of these guys will be helped by that.
Coughlin: I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m not sure about that guy. He’s trying though; he’s trying like heck.
Q: Thoughts on the balance between run and pass:
Coughlin: We didn’t pass the ball very well last night; we didn’t catch the ball very well. We’ve had a little string in the preseason, including the first regular season game of the season with 260 yards total offense, that’s not good. We only had 23 minutes time of possession, 24? That’s not good enough. Under any circumstances, in anybody’s league, that’s not good enough. We take great pride in being up front. Up front has got to get going, they’ve got to get going here.
Q: Did you think Dallas wanted it more last night?
Coughlin: I wouldn’t use those terms, but if I was coming in to play against the team that was the world champion, I’d want it. We wanted it, too. It didn’t fathom out the way we hoped it would in terms of how we played, but we wanted it and we were excited to be in our stadium with our fans. Believe me. That was a wonderful experience last night with regards to our fans and there isn’t any question that it’s not a preseason game. The fans were into it and it was very, very welcome on the part of the players. Unfortunately, we didn’t give them a whole lot to be excited about, but we’ll build on that and our fans will be there.
Q: With the injuries in the secondary, would you consider bringing in somebody from the outside?
Coughlin: We’ll consider anything. How are you with backpedaling? Pretty good?
Q: What consideration did you give to having practice this weekend?
Coughlin: We’re going to go four times next week, so we’ll have plenty of practice.
Q: When Michael Coe went out, did you consider putting Jayron Hosley in for him instead of Justin Tryon?
Coughlin: We were trying to concentrate on developing this young man in the nickel position, in the sub position. He can play corner, but at that point in time, we had been alternating the remaining corners throughout the course of the week in practice. Tryon had had his share of snaps over there.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to run and pass and have the balance you speak of?
Coughlin: Last night wasn’t a bad example. Just watch the other team. We did get the quarterback twice, but it wasn’t anywhere near the way we had been operating. I think the last time we played them we had six sacks and seven hits on the quarterback. Didn’t have anywhere near that last night. Their mixture was good and they kept the pass relatively short. They took advantage of whenever we felt like we had to play more people down to stop the run. They got just enough run yardage and then they, in the second half, they seemed to be when the piles were unfolded, they were going forward. I just think it gives you so much more… You have more options that way. Right now, quite frankly, our play action pass doesn’t do anything to anybody. They just drop back and play pass and you’re seeing what is happening in the secondary and I’m not going to try to tell other people how to play us, but if you watch, you see. You’ve got to be able to run the ball when they’re sending people down there.
Q: Why were their slant routes so effective?
A: It was well designed. We have the same design. If it’s one coverage, it goes one way. If another coverage, it goes another way and they took advantage, not only of the coverage, but the inability of us to do anything about the first hole, if you will.
Q: Would you like to see that squeezed down a little more?
A: Intercepted and run into the end zone if you would like to go further.
Q: If Boley and Rivers are both healthy and productive, are there going to be enough snaps for both of them?
A: There’s plenty of room for plenty of people. We’d like to have as many linebackers… Jacquian is another guy that hopefully is going to start to play better and challenge for time because all of those guys can run and they can help us in a lot of different ways. They’re on special teams. They help us from down and distance.
Q: Do you feel like the change in the number of practices and the conditioning… Have you seen that now?
A: I don’t know how to equate that to that. He had this problem in training camp.
Q: Is it harder to establish a run game with less padded practices?
A: You’re asking me two questions. One question. Yeah, it takes just as long to develop the run as it does other areas of your game and obviously we’re not there yet. The second question has to do with at some point, somebody has got to move somebody to create a hole to give us a chance to go through. Hynoski did a pretty good job leading through and doing a good job on the linebackers. Getting to that level was not easy for us. Once in a while, we would have a poor cut, but the majority of the time it was you gotta win. When you’re one on one, you have to make something happen.
Q: What did you think of Locklear and how he did last night?
A: He did okay. I mean if you went right down the line, you’d probably use the same term. He did okay. He didn’t do great. He didn’t do bad. He had his good plays. He had his bad plays. They have two outstanding edge rushers. They caused problems on the edge pretty much all night long for both tackles. Do I have to go over this again because I’m starting to lose it again?
Q: It’s only one game, but would you say that your issues have got to be fixed in a hurry?
A: Certainly. You lose a game, it’s not a good thing. It’s not a good thing. There are 15 to go, but this is what I told our team: It’s how we respond right now that’s the critical factor. Back to work. Grind. Grind a little bit. Forget all about the smoke being blown. This is a new year and a new team. I’ve got to be careful about that; every one of my references goes backwards, too. It’s not about that now. It’s about going forward. It’s a new issue and there are issues. We’ve been there before. We lost the opener a year ago. We’ve been there before. Get it straightened around.