10-6, it's really not where we want to be. I'm really disappointed to be here talking to you guys about 10-6. I really felt like we had an opportunity to go further into the playoffs, get into the playoffs I should say, and really do some damage when we got there, but it didn't work out that way. I'm really disappointed, even more so than last year because we put ourselves in position and that's what our goal is every year, to put ourselves in a position and we put ourselves in position and we just did not finish the job and that's very disappointing.
Q: Do you want Tom to make changes to his coaching staff?
A: Well, that's part of the evaluation process. We start evaluating the players, we evaluate the staff, we evaluate the front office, we evaluate everything. We want to get better, we're all a team, we want to see where we made mistakes and get better.
Q: The uncertainty of the CBA, how will that affect your preparation?
A: The CBA is what it is. We're hopeful that things are going to be resolved and we have contingency plans if there is a strike or a lockout, we'll be ready either way. I talked to all of the potential UFAs this morning and everybody has got a good attitude about it and we'll see after we know what the new agreement is and we'll move forward and who to sign and who not to sign. Obviously there will be changes, like every year, so we'll move forward and see what happens.
Q: Guys that would be unrestricted free agents?
Q: Will you sign any of them before the CBA?
A: Nope. It's a hurry up and wait deal. We've got to see where we are and we're not really sure what we're dealing with right now.
Q: The owners disagreed with you and said they were more disappointed last year. Why do you think this year?
A: Well, we just put ourselves in position. If you just look at where we were with seven minutes left in the Philadelphia game, you guys would have been writing about how great we were and we let that game slip away and we were fighting for our lives and we go to Green Bay and for whatever reason - I can't put my finger on that, why we don't go there and play better than we did - and then scramble around yesterday and get a win, but you can't depend on other people helping you get to the playoffs, you have to do it yourself and we were right there on the doorstep to do that and we didn't do it, so it's disappointing.
Q: Do you think this team was good enough this year that you don't have to make too many changes?
A: There are going to be changes, for sure. I don't know that we have to do a lot of wholesale changes, but there definitely will be changes. There were some positive things that came out of the season for sure and there were some negative things as well. The positive things: the young receivers, Hakeem when he was healthy played really well, Mario stepped up and played well, some more young guys we feel like can come in and do a good job at receiver as well, hopefully Steve Smith will make it back with a full recovery from his injury. We had to shuffle the offensive line a bunch, we were able to do that - some young guys got to play quite a bit. I really feel bad for Richie because really to me he is the MVP of the team, but I feel bad for how he went down yesterday because he really kind of saved it for us along with everybody else. Everybody was in it together, but Richie has really held that offensive line together for the most part. On the defense some positive things: we were really good on third down for a lot of the season, we were really dominant at times with the pass rush. The disappointing things are, for me: the coverage on the back end of the defense. We have to make more plays on the back end. We gave up too many explosive plays on the back end of the defense and we've got to get that corrected. Offensively, the thing that jumps out at me on the negative end is that we turned the ball over too much. Defensively we were up there in sacks - I think we may be either number two or three in sacks in the league - and we were number one in takeaways I believe. Offensively, what jumps out at me is that we turned the ball over too much, we had too many giveaways. Those are things that can be corrected and I believe that Tom Coughlin will correct those things.
Q: Do you think Eli had a sub-par year? What happened there? What he trying too hard to make plays?
A: I think it's a combination of all of that - I think he did try to do too much, I think some of the bad decisions that he made he was trying to do too much. Again, it's the combination of having a different offensive line in front of you and a combination of different receivers most of the season, so I think it's a combination of all of those things, but this is a business about making decisions and making adjustments and he has to make the adjustments and we expect him to do that. I don't care who is in there - Fooch, we could put you in there and we expect him to make the adjustments. Stat-wise most people would be pretty happy with 31 touchdowns and 4,000 yards, but you judge quarterbacks on wins and losses and we only got 10 wins and that didn't qualify us for the tournament so that wasn't good enough.
Q: Do you think you had the talent to be better than 10-6?
A: I think we could have won a couple more games that we did. If you take away 10 of the turnovers right there, there's probably two games there - the second Philadelphia game. If you stay in this business long enough you find out that some of those games happen. Every now and then you're going to have one of those. How could we lose the game? Then on the other hand, you're going to have a couple of those games that you won, how did we win that game? It happens. If you're fortunate enough to stay in this business that long that kind of thing happens to you, so it is what it is.
Q: Are the explosive plays allowed on defense the coaches' fault or the players' fault?
A: I'm not sure what it is. We're trying to figure that out during the off season. I just know that there were some explosive plays that happened on the back end and we've got to prevent that. It's going to happen sometimes, there's always going to be explosive plays on the back end, but I think we gave up too many explosive plays. I'm not calling anybody out because we're all part of it - the defense in the front, the linebackers, everybody, the calls, whatever, but I just felt that that jumps out at me that there were too many explosive plays that we gave up.
Q: That wasn't the case until late in the season. Why?
A: I'm not sure what happened. Again, that's what we'll try to figure out. We'll evaluate that and see what went wrong and we'll definitely have to get that corrected because you can't give up explosive plays in this league and expect to win a lot of football games.
Q: Some of the coaches might have opportunities coming at the college level. Especially with the CBA uncertainty, what do you say to them?
A: We don't want to hold anybody back. We like our coaching staff and everybody gets evaluated - I get evaluated, the coaching staff gets evaluated, the players get evaluated, the whole front office - everybody gets evaluated, it's an evaluation process and we're right at the beginning of the evaluation process. If guys get an opportunity to move on to a better opportunity, we're happy for them if that comes along, but we like our coaching staff right now.
Q: Do you believe in your young punter and do you think he'll be here for years to come?
A: Well, we hope so. We think he's talented, but we always try to create competition and we aren't just going to lay dead and think well, he's going to be the guy. At every position we try to bring in competition and he'll have some competition moving forward.
Q: How do you evaluate this year's draft class?
A: Well, JPP came on and did some nice things. I think he's going to be a terrific player and Linval got in a little bit yesterday. We were healthy though. We usually have some injuries in the defensive front, but we were pretty healthy for the most part during the season. Really the only injuries came on the offensive line and the receiver corps. That's where we had the injuries this past season, so Linval didn't get a jersey a lot of the season, but we think he's going to be a terrific player as well. Chad got hurt in the car accident, Phillip (Dillard) played some on special teams, Dodge played some - obviously he punted through the season and did a good job at times. We think he has great potential, so it's hard to judge a draft class after one season, so a couple of years we'll know where they are.
Q: If you don't sign your unrestricted free agents, is it possible they might sign with another team?
A: I think when the CBA is over I think that it's possible, but I don't think anybody is going to jump right in and not know what they're working with right away, so we're not sure what the rules are right now.
Q: What did you think of your linebackers this year?
A: Our linebackers did okay. Jon Goff was steady in there for the most part, Michael Boley was steady and Keith Bulluck was in and out of the game a lot, so they were steady. We really only used two linebackers for the most part - we had that three safety rotation going on, but the guys were steady. They did a good enough job for us to win a lot of games.
Q: Do you feel this team had more depth than last year?
A: We had some depth. The offensive line for instance, we shuffled them back three or four times and were able to get through with it and the receivers - we scrambled with the receivers two or three times. Those really were our spots where we got banged up the most and we got through it good enough to get us where we wanted to be, but it just didn't happen for us.
Q: You made a commitment to Shawn Andrews. Are you concerned about his back?
A: Sure. Obviously he's got some back issues and we'll evaluate that, we'll have our medical staff take a look at that, see where he is and we'll move forward with that process as well. There are a lot of injuries that we have to get resolved: Steve Smith is going to be coming off of a significant injury, Shawn Andrews has the back problem and there's more. Richie is coming off of a major knee situation right now, Hakeem's got the toe thing going, so there are a lot of uncertainties and injuries that we have to sift through during the offseason, but we'll get to that.
Q: What about Chad Jones?
A: Well, Chad is improving. I still think he has a long way to go. We get videotape of his rehab sessions and I'm not a doctor, but it looks like he has a long way to go still.
A: Kiwi as well. Kiwi has a significant neck issue and right now he's just trying to see if he can resolve it with rest and hopefully that'll be the case and we'll see more of what kind of contract we can offer him. Do we offer him a one year deal so that he can re-establish his value or do we go in a different direction? We'll see.
Q: Has anything changed with him?
A: Right now I don't think he's even gone back. I think that the time slot that he was supposed to wait and see - I don't think he's even reached that time yet, so I don't think he's gone back to the doctor to see. I think it's probably in January - the end of January - when they'll take a look at that.
Q: Do you know which free agents you want back and have you told them that yet?
A: Well, we have an idea, but the evaluation process is - we just started today to evaluate our players and we'll see moving forward, we'll try to project what the draft will look like, but there are several players that are doing things on our team that we like and we want them back.
Q: When you evaluate this team do you look at how they did against teams with winning records?
A: We evaluate them on every game. It's men against men, I don't care who you're playing against. It's any given Sunday you can get beat in this league. I don't care if your team has a winning record or not, so we'll evaluate everybody every week and put their quality of work together and see what we come up with at the end of the season.
Q: Do you have an idea of what your priorities are going to be in the draft?
A: Good players. That'll never change. We look for good players. Obviously if we have a position that is banged up, we'll look to that area, but the number one thing we look for is good players.
Q: How would you evaluate Antrel Rolle's performance given everything he was asked to do this season?
A: What we asked him to do was a little bit different from what he did at Arizona. He played in coverage a lot, he was down in the box a lot, around the line of scrimmage a lot for us and he did good in that role for us. He was around, he was tough down in the box, he made a lot of plays for us down in the box, so he ended up making the Pro Bowl but I think that he's not as happy as...I think he thinks he could have played better for us. I saw him this morning and he's really disappointed that we're not playing. I do think he can play better and he thinks he can play better.
Q: He said when he played down so low he had trouble going back in coverage and he needs to work on that. Does that excuse hold water with you?
A: I don't know if it's an excuse. It is what it is. That's one of the things that was the most disappointing for me is that we gave up too many plays on the back end of the defense and in this league you just can't give up explosive plays. A couple of games that gets you beat.
Q: Any thoughts on Plaxico when he is released from prison?
A: We investigate everything, so when that situation arises, we will investigate that.