After the New York Giants embarrassed themselves on Monday Night Football, it seems everyone had a finger to point. And as much as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo wanted to move on and discuss the Dallas Cowboys, he still had to answer some questions about the Giants' game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And despite the criticism of the defense, Spags had his unit's back.
"I'll tell you what, and I told them this just the other day, I was really proud. I would go to war with these guys anytime. I thought we battle and fought, maybe towards the second half, that fourth quarter when it was the 79th play, it took our toll," Spagnuolo said. "But prior to that, I never sensed on the sideline that our guys were down about the fact that we weren't scoring a lot of points or down about the fact that this was happening. They just went right back out there and battled. I don't think, as the guy leading that group, you can ask for much more than that."
And with the frustratingly inconsistent play of Damontre Moore, the pass rush was called into question once again.
"Well, we need them all. We're not going to be able to do it with one guy. There are things pass rush wise that we certainly need to generate a little bit more of in a four and three man rush is a little bit tougher, but certainly four. And we have to generate a little bit out of a five man and bring a few more pressures," Spagnuolo said. "This past game, we stayed away from certain things because of the type of offense that you're facing so it was dictated by that. I would like to get back to doing a little bit more pressuring. I don't know if we're going to do it in this game or not, but we need them all. Whoever is out there, we need to affect the quarterback."
One of the more interesting stories that seems to be lost in the shuffle is the play of Jayron Hosley. He has gone from being considered a steal in the third round of the 2012 draft, to a bust, to now playing an important role, and impressing his coach.
"He had the two plays I think he'd like to have back, we've talked about it. But I think he's been really solid, I'm glad we have him. He went out in the Atlanta game and did a really nice job against those wide receivers. We talked a little today, I think he would have liked to tackle a little bit better," Spagnuolo said. "But he made some plays that you don't notice. He made a pass breakup on an out pattern early in the game. I think he's solid over there, we have no problem putting him in."
And finally we get to Spags' thoughts and comments on Matt Cassel, Dez Bryant, and the Dallas Cowboys.
On Cassel, and an angle that seems to be flying below the radar some, Spags had to say:
"Hard to tell [how much the Dallas offense will change] because we haven't seen him play out there, obviously. But I won't imagine they will venture too far from who they are and what they do. I don't think they changed all that much from Tony and when Weeden was in there. They're a good football team, they got a good offensive line, it all begins there. They still pose some threats that we certainly faced the first time, I think we're going to face again."
"Well, you see guys set up and throws with a strong arm, he's a big guy. Actually C.J. [Craig Johnson, former Vikings' QB coach], our running back coach here, coached him in Minnesota so you have a little bit of background with him. So there's a little bit of information there. But look, the guys play the game and we go out and try to coach them. Again, I don't think they'll change the scheme too much. It is a bye week for them, so you can throw a wrinkle in there that you wouldn't normally be able to do, so we'll anticipate that. We don't know what that will be, but I think they're well established in who they are and what they do. I think Scott does a great job with them and we'll try to defend what they've been doing."
And on the prospects of playing Dez Bryant:
"Well, we're planning both ways [that he will or won't play]. You never say you're hoping one way or the other. I remember 10-12 years ago in Philadelphia we played the Colts, I'm trying to remember the running backs name.
Yeah. "Oh boy I hope they don't have Edgerrin James." So he doesn't play, in walks Joseph Addai. He ran for about 150 or something. So, he's a good football player and we know he's a challenge. So if he does play we certain things, if he doesn't, we shift gears a little bit and we're prepared either way."