Sunday's 32-18 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept the New York Giants above .500 (5-4) and in first place in the NFC East. There is a long way to go, but after having been 3-6 and already playing out the string at this point in each of the past two seasons, Giants coach Tom Coughlin understands the difference.
"It's a wonderful thing to be able to be in the hunt and to be relevant. Each week is extremely meaningful," Coughlin said. "It's good to have that factor involved."
Defense "bounced back"
Coughlin gave credit to the Giants' defense, which had given up 52 points to the New Orleans Saints the week before. Coughlin pointed to Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin gaining only 31 yards rushing.
"Our ability to hold up after sudden change, for our defense to go out and force field goals and not touchdowns and to have done that on a couple of different occasions throughout the game, that was a huge plus for us," Coughlin said.
Those 8-0 New England Patriots
The Giants host the unbeaten Pats this week, but Coughlin said Monday that "I really haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about the Patriots yet."
The coach said he would begin preparations for the Patriots when he got off the phone with reporters.
Status of Will Beatty
The Giants have to make a decision this week on whether to activate offensive lineman Will Beatty off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list or place him on Injured Reserve for the remainder of the season. Beatty, of course, has been out all season after tearing a pectoral muscle while lifting weights during OTAs.
Coughlin would only say that a decision would be made, and wouldn't offer any hints other than to say "we know what to do with him" if he's on the roster.
"Will is going to practice this week and a decision will be made," Coughlin said. "That's all you're gonna get."
Middle linebacker notes
Coughlin gave credit to Jasper Brinkley, who played well Sunday with Jon Beason having been placed on IR and Uani 'Unga being inactive with a neck injury.
"I thought he played well," Coughlin said. "He's a force in the middle. He's a guy that has size, he is able to recognize things and he is physical."
Coughlin was also asked why the Giants chose to place Beason on season-ending IR.
"Jon has been an outstanding leader here," Coughlin said. "He is a man of principle."
Coughlin said "the inability to put the injuries to rest" and not knowing when or if Beason could play made the move necessary. "There just wasn't any answers" Coughlin said.
Jason Pierre-Paul's debut
Coughlin was, of course, asked for thoughts on the debut of Jason Pierre-Paul:
"He got some great jumps off the snap and I thought his inside move was an outstanding move and late in the game when we needed to be able to rush the passer he forced the passer to pull it down and run outside to the right on a couple of occasions, which made him a little bit more uncomfortable," Coughlin said. "He's going to do nothing but get better."