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Tom Coughlin, 12.20.10

After a most difficult evening and a difficult morning you have to look at the tape in all three phases again and to walk in here and remind all of you that the team that finished those last eight minutes was also the team that played the first 52. The first 52 were played pretty darn well. The last eight were not played well. There are plenty of sins to be distributed. The sin that I'm going to throw in is that it's my decision whether or not we put the hands team out there. You can go either way on the strategy of it with seven and a half minutes and all three timeouts, but I do know this team very well and the guy is an excellent onsides placement kicker. He kicked the ball perfectly - eleven yards exactly. We decided not to put the hands team out there, but rather to make our people aware of it. We were aware of it, we didn't react very well and had we reacted well with the way in which we were aligned, we still may not have been able to do anything about it. The ball was kicked that well. That's my call and if there was anything - hindsight is 20/20 and you guys are very good at it - but the situation that I would say, rather than strategy, would have just been momentum, just to stop the momentum. I think that after a team scores in two plays, goes 65 yards, we miss a tackle, the guy runs into the end zone, it's still 31-17 so there is plenty of work that has to be done and we're chipping away at the time, not as fast as you would like to, but the sense of the momentum of the play and draining some of that versus our decision to have some decent field position to work with offensively to try to do something about it. The other issues are quite obvious. We had the ball, we had a seven-point lead, we were in position - one time we were in position with second and eight at our 38-yard line, within eight yards of a potential field goal that puts you up 10 and we had the penalty that set us back, didn't convert in that situation and then the other obvious fact that in 16 plays Philadelphia scored 21 points and the quarterback ran for 96 yards and we didn't do a whole lot about that, one of which was a third and ten from the minus-12, but we had a pressure on, we let him outside of the pressure, which was supposed to be outside in, and he converted it into a 33-yard run. The other thing that is kind of frustrating is that in those runs of his I don't think that anybody hit him. He ran out of bounds once, he dove forward a couple of times and with 8:17 to go, it was 31-10 and it changed very, very rapidly. We were all frustrated by it, we're all angry, we're all miserable, but as I told our team today,

I'm proud of the way they prepared, I'm proud of the way we came back in this past week and went to work. We were very excited, we were focused. We did a nice job of preparation, took advantage of some things in the first half to build ourselves a nice lead. Throughout the start of the third quarter the lead looked good, there wasn't a lot going on and then we had the Manningham fumble and I think with the Manningham fumble they scored and thought, ‘24-10, perhaps.' Had we been able to answer or do something about it right away with our offensive team, it might have given us a little bit bigger margin or a little bit bigger cushion. There are so many things in this game that are frustrating, one of which is we had a legitimate chance to block their first field goal and had a guy free right in front of the kicker and did not get that done, so we had a number of opportunities, there are no excuses, we had plenty of chances. I lose the games, the players win them. Everybody can blame me. You can line up at the corner and blame me, that's fine, I can handle it, but the fact of the matter is that right now what is important for our football team is to regroup, to stay positive - you're going to have your day today and then after today we've got to throw this off and move forward because this is a very, very important week and a very, very important game for our team - a chance to go to Green Bay and win a game against a very good football team.

Q: How surprised were you that Eli wanted to address the team this morning? How significant is that?
A: I think any time Eli - we don't have many of those kinds of sessions. I wasn't surprised at all that he asked if it was okay if he did it. Not at all. I was pleased that he would do that and from what I understand he did the majority, if not all, of the talking. It wasn't very long. It was very concise from what I understand and was very positive. It was about how we all win, we all lose, we're in it together, we've got an awful lot at stake, there are many, many teams in this league that would like to be in the position that we're in and we've got to have a great week. We've got to have a great week of preparation, which is exactly what I told the team. We need a great week of preparation, a great week of practice, nobody feeling sorry for themselves, move forward, understand the circumstances that we're in and give ourselves the best chance that we possibly can have to go and win.

Q: You've been in a spot like this before and have usually come out of it. What do you attribute that to?
A: I think this is a mentally tough group, I think that we're all sincere - and I know I am - in the approach that we take. A few years ago I walked in after a bad loss, a bad loss at home when we had to win somewhere along the line to get in the playoffs and just said, Hey, we messed that one up, there's not a whole lot we can do about yesterday. What we can do is have something to do with right now and hopefully that will contribute to what's going to happen in the future, so let's get about our business.

Q: Now you have to do it on the road.
A: Well, we've been on the road before and in this league, you're half and half, so the circumstances are such. We had the script well, well designed for yesterday and I think that our fans were very appreciative that that game was played here and the opportunity that we had. We didn't get it done, we didn't finish. That's exactly what we talked about at halftime: We have to go finish. The game is two halves, it's not just one, and we've got to go finish the thing and do it in the right way, the right fashion. We had a talking going into the game about how well Philadelphia had come out of the blocks in the first quarter and how many times they had finished the game - even in Chicago, Chicago was up 31-13 and I believe the final score was 31-24, so they made a run right there. They make a run at a lot of people and you've got to hold the run off. Even as far down as that last possession when they were driving for the 31-31 score, for me, what I was trying to tell our defensive coaches was that we're one turnover away from the game being over. It's under two minutes, there's no way they can stop it, so we were well aware of what we were in for. We were surprised - I was surprised - at the way in which they got it done. We had been filling the gaps, we had been punishing the quarterback, we had been getting after him, for example in the one drive I'm talking about at the minus-12, they throw two incomplete passes and it's third and 10. You're going to have to punt the ball there. They're not going to go for it on fourth and 10. We were in perfect shape, we just did not finish.

Q: Did you talk to Dodge today?
A: I did. You've got to move on. That's over. You can't do anything about it. I said that you've got to figure out how to do the things that I ask you to do and he is no more to blame than me or anybody else.

Q: Are you still committed to him? Do you have faith that if it came down to this again that he could get it done?
A: I think so, yes he would. He's a young guy and he's forced to do this under fire and all of the things that can happen in the course of a 16-game schedule and a rookie - any rookie, but in this case a rookie punter - it's not easy, but he's going to have to learn from it.

Q: Any discussion about bringing in another punter tomorrow?
A: Not really. We didn't have much discussion about that. We had some things that we talked about, but we went down as we always do, Jerry (Reese) and I go over the game and that was one facet of it, but no more than any other facet of it. As I said, there were plenty of opportunities to win the game.

Q: Is it still keeping his confidence up or is it tough love?
A: Well, that's been told. He understands it. You've seen him walking around this morning. You're asking me questions about a young guy - you can see it in his eyes.

Q: What can you see in his eyes?
A: That's for you to figure out.

Q: How do you move forward? What did you do last night?
A: What did I do? I sat in a room with the lights out for about two and a half hours. It's not funny. It's not the way it's supposed to be.

Q: Really?
A: Yeah. Sure I did. What was I going to do? Join in on what festivities? What time of the year?

Q: In a situation like this, to make sure the team is mentally where it needs to be, do you just talk to the team or talk to guys individually since people regroup differently?
A: Well, you've got to do both. You've got to slide in and out of the individual meetings, you've got to say what's appropriate. Like we always do, there is no avoiding the facts. The team expects that, but they also know and I hope that from my standpoint there is going to be encouragement, because, as I said, we're all in it together.

Q: Does it make it easier to know that if you win you're in?
A: Well, quite frankly, once the introduction statements were made today, that was the point. The point is, okay, that was yesterday. We screwed up, it's over, look at what is here now. These are the facts of life: there are two games remaining, you win this weekend and we're in the playoffs. That's what the goal was in the first place. You can't do anything about it unless you can get in.

Q: How many losses have you had where you've gone and sat in the dark?
A: A few, unfortunately. Sometimes the Christmas lights weren't on.

Q: Is this the worst one that you can remember?
A: I'd say it's the worst one that I want to remember.

Q: Do you tell everyone to keep in mind that you could potentially see them again and that you've played them pretty well?
A: Maybe.

Q: When did you know that it was win and you're in?
A: I had the research going this morning and I had our people report to me before I came downstairs.

Q: You said you told your kickoff team to be aware of the onside kick, but all five guys retreated.
A: You asked me that last night. I did look at it on tape. It was probably the worst indicator that we had of all the kickoff returns of the day. We stayed longer in the majority of the other ones than we did after having been warned what was going to happen. But, again, one was a young guy and one was a veteran guy and the thing about it is that once we took the couple of steps, we didn't do a whole lot about coming back.

Q: The guys said that some of them got caught off guard because the Eagles only had 10 men on the field.
A: Yeah, that should not have been any kind of distraction, but it looked like they were looking. It was well disguised.

Q: Would you be more demonstrative to alert that next time?
A: We were yelling - we were yelling from the sidelines and the response was coming from the field.

Q: Do you talk to anyone after a tough loss? What do you do?
A: My wife ignores me and I don't have a dog.

Q: What is your process for moving forward?
A: Phony facial expressions, lousy jokes, that kind of stuff.

Q: Does it bother you that people are seeing you angry with Matt Dodge, but the players say you weren't like that in the locker room. Why?
A: No. Because at that point in time, the sense of what was needed was that to vent - what good is that going to do? All that is is for me. Okay, I feel better now. That's not the message that you want. You do have to regroup and we are very much aware of the circumstances. We did say that we have to go win two games. Naturally I was mad at Matt because I did not want to see the game end like that. There are 14 seconds left. Punt the ball out of bounds.

Q: Did D.J. Ware have an angle over there on the one?
A: I'm not sure that he did. He was going sideways trying to eat up whatever clock there was too. We had three guys running down the field in front of him and one arguable block on the side knocked three over. It was bowling - three guys went down right in front of him.

Q: How is Dave Tollefson?
A: He's got an MCL.

Q: Sprain?
A: Yes.

Q: Why not put the hands team out there?
A: Because I felt that it could have gone either way and I didn't want to sacrifice the field position. I've said that before and I'll say it again. That is the call that I made. I wanted to see the ball, I wanted the offense to have an opportunity to have decent field position in order to - when you put a hands team out there and the ball is kicked deep, let's face it, there's not much of a blocking pattern to be taken advantage of.

Q: Was Tollefson the only injury?
A: The only one I can report right now.

Q: Is there a move with Bomar?
A: Evidently Minnesota has made a move to bring Rhett to Minnesota. No one has ever been contacted here that I know of, but from what I understand, it is underway.

Q: Is that expected for you to be contacted?
A: Well, the agent or somebody - somebody ought to let you know.