New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has heard all the talk about his team needing more big plays. He has seen the numbers. He agrees. That, however, doesn't necessarily mean it's all about throwing the ball deep down the field more often.
"I don't care how it comes. Short pass, long run, long pass, long run, whatever it is. Kickoff return, punt return, interception run into the end zone. We need more of ‘em," an animated Coughlin said during his Thursday press conference to preview the upcoming game with the Indianapolis Colts.
Coughlin, maybe energized by the week off and the challenge facing the 3-4 Giants, was in fine form on Thursday.
Here is Coughlin on the call by GM Jerry Reese for more down field shots:
"We’d like to see that, too. We’d like to see the ball in the end zone more, however it gets there. We do realize when you’re playing some of the people we’re playing you’ve gotta give yourself more chances to be able to do that."
So, how can the Giants accomplish that?
"You've gotta protect the passer, you've gotta do all the things we've tried to structure ... we've gotten good numbers out of the quarterback position. We need even better and we need more production out of the people that are involved in handling the ball -- the runners, the catchers, etc.," Coughlin said.
"We've certainly had our personnel changes. Regardless, we've gotta get to the point where when the opportunity is there we've gotta take our shots."
On the overall development of the new offense mid-way through the season:
"We'd like to be better as a running team, we've tried to have more balance and we need more big plays. The system itself providing opportunities is there, we just haven't done it, we haven't thrown the ball down the field perhaps as much as we should, but we know the personnel and we know what they're capable of doing. The personnel being put in the right position can be successful. All those other things you talk about have to take place.
"We can't be stripped of the ball in key situations. If you play the game the way you want to play it they're all tight, everything's tight, you're gonna get into the fourth quarter with a chance to win and then you have to perform at a very high level. Some of those errors that have been made in the past cannot be made."
Coughlin was asked if the Giants were good enough and simply said "yeah."
What is his message to players on how to prove that?
"We have a nine-game schedule I want total commitment. I want no distractions. I want every man putting forth his greatest effort, and I think this team has to play above the Xs and the Os," Coughlin said. "We've gotta get some consistency of playing at the highest level. We've gotta do the things we did in the three-game win streak, the creation of turnovers, the field position ... we got a chance to get something done on special teams, let's do that. Let's give ourselves a little boost there. Let's get some field position by punt return or kickoff return."
Can the Giants learn anything from the 639-yard outburst by the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday against the Colts?
"Make plays. Please make plays. Run around, jump up and down, do whatever you want, scramble, bring the guy across from the other side of the field, throw the ball up in the air, catch it and run in the end zone," Coughlin said.
The Giants are playing at home for the first time since Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, and Coughlin hopes that has an impact.
"Looking for our fans. The 12th man will I think make a big difference here in the remaining nine games of our schedule."
Coughlin said running back Rashad Jennings won't practice and is out for Monday. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) is not practicing. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (leg) is limited. Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is beginning to practice but is still on short-term IR. Coughlin would only say "we'll see" as to when Schwartz might actually be able to play.