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Giants' Tom Coughlin explains calling his team "relevant" in the NFC East

Coach looks back at Sunday's victory and what it means to the Giants.

Tom Coughlin watches the Giants arm up on Sunday
Tom Coughlin watches the Giants arm up on Sunday
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin told his team after Sunday's victory that they were "relevant: again in the NFC East after leveling their record at 2-2. Players have been repeating the phrase, and on Monday Coughlin was asked to explain his choice of words.

"Well, it's always good to be, at this point in time in a season, looking at our start and to know that you're in the mix, you're in the hunt," Coughlin said during a conference call. "I chose that word to make them understand it's a word that puts you in position, but you're not there. You've got a long way to go and that's the significance of that term."

On placing tight end Daniel Fells on injured reserve:

"It was very unfortunate with Daniel. It went from early in the week being a junkie ankle to a serious situation. I just talked to him a little while ago, he feels upbeat about it. He's just looking forward to getting things under control so he can get out of the hospital. With that being the case, we would have a roster move, but we'll make sure we take our time, do our due diligence on that."

Here are more takeaways from Coughlin's weekly day-after-game remarks.

On the interception Eli Manning threw at the end of the game:

Coughlin reiterated he wold take the blame for the controversial decision to throw the ball in that situation, up 14 points and in range for a chip-shot field goal with less than four minutes to play.

"Well, you can look at it any way you want to. The error goes to me, because I wanted to score. I wanted to be in a position at that point to score a touchdown. And then on fourth down, if we didn't score, we would kick the field goal. But there's different ways to play that. I asked Rueben about it, he said when the contact came from the corner, he was kind of knocked back a little bit and wasn't able to completely finish. And I'm sure if you really bore down on him, he could have maybe run the route just a little bit better. I think Eli had thrown a similar type of pass to him for a touchdown earlier in the game. The ball had been thrown low and in a spot where Rueben was going to get it and nobody else was going to get it. I'm sure Eli would probably say something to that effect as well. Give some credit to the corner. The corner played that pretty well.

"No, I don't regret the call, I regret the result. I do understand completely the consequences of the decision that you could make or couldn't make there. However, as I explained, I was looking for an opportunity on third down to score a touchdown. If we didn't, we would kick the field goal on fourth down. That was the entire concept."

On the play of the offensive line:

"I will say this — they did perform well. They've done a nice job with that. We pass protected well, we did end up with one sack. Quite frankly, that should have been picked up as well. We did have some occasions to run the ball. We rushed for 92 yards, they rushed for 55 yards. So we had more yards there. Again, we prepared well, there was an awful lot that went into it from a cerebral standpoint in the game. The guys did a good job with it. You would like to have the third quarter, maybe come back and do a better job there. Obviously the penalty on the screen really knocked us out of some opportunities there because the ball was down way deep into their territory. But we did do a good job, and we did protect the passer."

On players talking about Coughlin's energy level rising when the team was 0-2:

"Whether the energy level came up from whatever level it currently is, I don't know about that. But I do know that it puts a fire in our belly without a doubt to be 0-2 and I didn't think we were an 0-2 team. We needed to do something about it. So we tried to inspire our guys to believe in themselves and come together as a team, to play the four quarters. Forget about the score and play each play as hard as you possibly can and don't let any of the circumstances get into your head. And the coaches all did a great job of, again, continuing to express the feelings that I had and keeping the energy level very high and coaching the heck out of them and being excited about it. Trying to surround ourselves with guys that are excited to compete and believe that we can win. All of those things went into it, without a doubt."

On injury updates beyond Fells:

Coughlin said "I don't think we have anything to update" regarding the status of wide receiver Victor Cruz, who had a PRP injection last week to help the recovery of his injured calf.

Left tackle Ereck Flowers "came out okay" with his injured ankle and might be "a little bit better" than he was a week ago. He had no information on linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (possible concussion).