Good afternoon. We met this morning with the players and we did talk about the game yesterday and about getting the tenth win as we talked about last night, but we're not in the playoffs, we're not happy about that at all and that's kind of been the mood at the latter part of the meetings, the individual meetings with the coaches, the session that I had with the team this morning and I know that the players are disappointed, the coaches are disappointed, we're all disappointed, ownership is disappointed and we're 10-6, but we're not in the playoffs.
Q: 10-6 - do you look and say you don't need to change much?
A: We'll do all of that. That will be forthcoming. We'll do all of the work, all of the research that is necessary to try to determine how we can help ourselves, where we needed the help, what needs to be changed, what needs to be fixed - we'll do all of that within the next couple of weeks.
Q: Will you consider any staff changes?
A: Right now, I'm not. We're just starting that part of it, but right now I have to say no.
Q: How does labor uncertainty affect your planning?
A: Well, there isn't any question that it's very difficult to do anything more other than plan because of the uncertainty. We have to have faith in the fact that we have a great game, we have a great fan base, we're very, very popular, the National Football League is extremely popular and you'd like to think that that would be the motivating factor that makes sure that everything is settled so that we could go forward. We all believe and hope that that will be the case and we're going to plan accordingly, we just have to be prepared if there's something that does not allow us to start our normal process.
Q: Are there any free agents that you have now that you'd like to lock up?
A: Well, that is a discussion that has to be had, but there are certainly people here that we want here, that's for sure. How we go about it...I'm not exactly sure what the strategy will be.
Q: You dealt with Tiki's fumble issue and corrected it. Can you do the same thing with Eli's interceptions?
A: I think we can. I thought that Eli last night was - he was so aware of the consequences of turning the ball over that he was acutely alert to the fact that he wasn't going to let that happen last night. Now, we did get one off of a tipped ball, which was unfortunately a recurring issue, but I thought he did an outstanding job mentally trying to make sure that there were no mistakes made with the ball. Now, having said that, he also pulled the ball down and ran last night in a typical coverage situation with the underneath coverage locked on to people. It opened up for him and it really should have been the play that allowed us to get the ball in the end zone. The next play obviously was dropped, but it should have been a touchdown. I think we can and I think we can do something with design, we can do something with individuals, there may be certain things that have to be accomplished by just knowing who is doing what and where and when, so I think that we can.
Q: Do fumbles come on the coach - do you need to do something to get that number down?
A: No question. We all need to do a better job to get that number down. That number has cost us football games. I've said it all year long and that's the reality of it. You just look at our takeaways, you look and say my God, in other years with the job that we've done in terms of taking care of the ball, the difference might have been plus-15, plus-18.
Q: Is that the most frustrating part of this season?
A: Well, it's definitely a big part of the frustration. The other part of that that leads you to think further is that you're not really complimenting your offense, defense, and special teams by turning the ball over. You're not playing with the kind of control that is necessary and I think that is the direction that I'm going is that when you're really in control of the game - in the Washington games this year, we were plus-eight - plus-five the first time, plus-three last night and there isn't any question how that contributed to the wins. Just look at last night, we had forced fumbles of plus-30, plus-17, plus-20, we had an interception and gave the ball to the offense on the 27-yard line, we had a fourth-and-one stop. We turned it over one time ourselves, so there isn't any question that you have to work in concert with each other and you have to be able to control the game at this level. There's going to be an occasion when turnovers take place, whether it be a big time hit or just an outstanding athlete timing up the interception, it's going to happen. It doesn't have to happen at the numbers that it did though.
Q: What is your reaction saying goodbye to the players knowing how supportive they've been of you recently?
A: I said it the other day and I didn't even mince my words or anything. I love this team, I love these guys, I think they're strong character people, we work together on everything, we're all in it together, we're all for one, one for all and that's the way that it has to be. It's a group of guys that don't make excuses for anything, they accept responsibility, they accept whatever takes place. They've done an outstanding job this year of adjusting to some very unusual circumstances that surround the game. They've done a good job of that. We've had a couple of huge disappointments, emotionally we weren't to where we should have been. We did come back to a certain level last night, but it's an outstanding group of guys who by and large are on the same page, they're focused, they come to work, they prepare themselves, they play hard, there are all kinds of personalities just like there always is, but as I said, I'm very, very appreciative of the kind of effort, the attitude, the enthusiasm, and the fact that this year's team was a very responsive team.
Q: When a 7-win team gets in the playoffs over a 10-win team, does that system need to be changed?
A: I think by and large the system has been a good one because of the reinforcement it provides within your own division. In our game you focus on winning your division. That's the direct route to the playoffs. This is an unusual year in which a team won the division with a not outstanding record. Well, maybe it's just a different and unusual year. I don't know. From a standpoint of the league and the overall, I don't have any complaints with the system. From a standpoint of being selfish right now, yeah, we'd like to be playing, sure.
Q: Would you like a contract extension?
A: I haven't even thought about that. That's one of those things that I haven't thought about. You keep asking me if I'm aware of the situation that I'm in. I never was aware of anything other than I'm the head coach of the New York Giants. That's all I cared about. This situation with the contract, that's the first time I've even heard anything about that and I'm sure, as everything else, it will be addressed at the proper time.
Q: Do you think at all about how long you want to do this?
A: Probably 70 or 72. One year at a time.
Q: I'll run with that.
A: I'm sure you will. You pretty much run with everything else.
Q: One year at a time?
A: I do one year at a time.
Q: How old do you feel?
Q: What does your wife think?
A: You'd have to ask her. I'm not touching that one.
Q: Do you have confidence that your offensive line can come back?
A: I'm confident that we can come back, but I also am aware of the fact that as deep as we were and as many people that contributed and that was a good thing and I think that Petrus is going to be a football player too now and I think that Beatty played well when he was given the opportunity and so on and so forth, but you always strive for continuity and you do have to have depth at this level. Our production wasn't as good the last couple of weeks and it's got to be better, so we'll evaluate that just like everything else.
Q: How would you evaluate this year's rookie class?
A: Well, you'd have to go one by one. JPP was a guy that emerged as a special teamer, drew double teaming most of the year, got a little bit better at the end of the season, started to make some plays on the defensive side of the ball and I think that because of his youth and his enthusiasm and the fact that he was able to stay healthy, for a young guy without a lot of experience in this game, he played his way right though a lot of the nicks and the soreness and the pain that comes with the job at this level and did a good job with that, so I think that we're looking forward to his development.
Q: Are you okay with the fact that you did not get much production from that group other than JPP and Dodge?
A: You say we didn't get much contribution, but there's an awful lot of developmental stuff going on that you don't see because they're not statistically related, so we'll see. It'll be a big jump. It'll have to be a big jump from year one to year two.
Q: Does this offseason feel different than last season?
A: 10 wins. We're a better team right now. Unfortunately we have a ton of injuries and the way that the injuries struck that one position is just...I don't even think...it's unheard of. To lose receivers like we did this year and to go back and forth like we did and to go back and forth even with the offensive line situation. Fortunately for the most part our defense stayed pretty solid, but in most years you're going to have injuries in this league, we all know that, and you're going to play through them and you have teams that have them and keep on going and we did too. We just hope that at the beginning of every year, what is your wish? You'd like to play the season with your players, the ones you put together in the beginning.
Q: Is it a worse feeling to win 10 games and not make the playoffs than to miss by a long shot?
A: It's bitter enough. Pick your poison.
Q: Are you concerned about where Eli is right now?
A: Well, the concern is correcting the obvious. If that number (of interceptions) is 10, you're talking about a guy that probably threw for 4,800 yards. Really whatever the touchdowns are - 30 or 31 - and the 4,000 yards... The last two games have not been that overly productive and could have been better and higher. I just think that you've got to get that other number down. You've got to get the other people back on the field. Don't forget, he's done a great job - Eli has done a great job with these receivers no matter what stage they're in. Seeing Hixon in here today...it was nice seeing Domenik and to see him in good spirits and feeling good. Steve was here today, Hakeem was here today, they were all here today and Eli has done a heck of a job working with those guys and continued to do so to make sure or try to make sure everybody was on the same page.
Q: With the impending lockout are there any special conversations you had about what you want them to do if they can't have access to you?
A: You can't ask that.
Q: Do you expect them to do that anyway?
A: Oh, absolutely.
Q: Special teams has to get better.
A: There's no question. We looked at a guy like Banks our first time around out here and we did a good job with our kickoff team and our kickoff coverage team and our variety was good. We didn't do a good job with our punt coverage or our punting. We didn't do a very good job last night. The inconsistency of placing the ball where we want it and then covering and the guy had a ton of yards - very dangerous and put the ball beyond midfield. We've got to improve that and I think it goes back to...I think that provided we can get this thing resolved so that Matt is in here, Matt needs to work almost situationally every day on it. The ball is at the plus-45, let's get it inside the 10, let's punt the ball out of bounds this time, let's go left, let's go right, let's hang the ball up this time, all of those things because they're so important in terms of trying to take the weapons that...we've faced a great returner almost every week now. You've got to take that weapon away from them. You can't let them have that kind of field position. You've got to be able to punt the ball long - one of his best punts was the ball on the sideline downed at the 11-yard line. People were wondering if - yeah, that was finally one that was put over in the corner. So, a young punter that has got to grow from the experiences that he's had and get better, that's going to help us a lot. Our return game: Danny Ware late in the year gave us a good spark to our kickoff return game and I was glad to see that happen. Aaron Ross last night did a nice job with our punt return game, so you continue to see that if you have a weapon like that. What a difference it makes and that would upgrade us right there.
Q: What's the latest on Seubert?
A: He's going to have surgery tomorrow.
Q: What's the extent of the damage?
A: Some injuries in his knee.
A: Tendon, yeah.
Q: What have you heard about his rehab and recovery?
A: The doctors think that knowing this young guy and what he has been through that he'll make the recovery.
Q: How much time will you give yourself off before you start preparing for next year?
A: This afternoon.
Q: How much would a lockout derail your plans and preparation?
A: I've done this once before without a team and you still prepare. You've got to do it all. That won't change how we approach it. I hope it doesn't get to that.
Q: Will you watch the playoffs?
A: I'll watch them for sure. I'm a fan. I love it and I'll watch it for sure. I'll usually have that pad right next to me, I'll make some notes for myself and so on and so forth, but I won't be a happy camper.
Q: Would it be similar to your first year in Jacksonville?
A: I hope not.
Q: Any way that you think you can figure out why the team was so streaky this year?
A: I said a mouthful earlier. Why didn't all three phases play together more consistently? Why did one team like last night play as well as the defense did? There are some numbers there, don't get me wrong, but to hold somebody to 14 points in this league, that's hard. And then we had no offense in the second half.
Q: Do you know who you want back next year?
A: There'll be discussion. I think everybody who will be involved in that discussion has a pretty good sense of who the vital players are, but still it's all got to be discussed and that's what'll go on here in the last few days.
Q: Will you evaluate your staff in the next few days?
A: In the next couple of weeks.