A day after his team's first victory, a 32-21 win over the Washington Redskins, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said his 1-2 team "did a lot of good things and we left some things out on the field that need to be corrected." Here are takeaways from Coughlin's Friday conference call.
Coughlin hopeful Cruz will play vs. Buffalo Bills
All signs have recently pointed toward Victor Cruz making his long-awaited season debut when the Giants face the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. Coughlin is "hoping" that will be the case.
"He's improving and we're hoping. He's running. He'll be running all weekend and we're hoping that there's nothing but straight ahead positives in all his activities and we'll see next week if we can get him on the practice field," Coughlin said.
Coach defends pass after two-minute warning
There has been some gnashing of teeth about the Giants throwing a pass on third-and-10 from their own 44-yard line after the two-minute warning. At the time the Giants led, 32-21, and Washington was out of timeouts. The play brought up memories for Giants fans of the Week 1 loss to Dallas when the Giants inexplicably stopped the clock with an errant pass when they could have run out much of the remaining time with a run play. Coughlin vehemently defended the play call.
"I wanted a first down that we might keep the ball even longer, and I felt confident that we would be able to achieve that. We put the quarterback in as safe as possible position. We ran a very conservative route with Odell Beckham. It just didn't work out," Coughlin said.
"Believe me, it [running the ball] went through my mind, but we've got to get this thing flipped around a little bit. We're going to have to play to keep the ball as much as we can in those situations and not just punt the ball back to the defense.
"I did consider it, but I did not agree that that's the way we should play. I would want this offensive team to feel more responsibility. We've been in this situation before this year. There's something about shifting gears and playing like that, it bothers me. ... I don't bat an eye about what we did last night and I would defend our actions to anybody."
Nikita Whitlock is a legitimate pass rusher
Coughlin said that using 250-pound Nikita Whitlock as a pass-rushing defensive tackle was not a gimmick.""e's legitimate. He played defensive line in college. He's a tremendous energy player who's very quick, very difficult for these offensive lineman to just be in position and stay with because he does have the spin moves and the acceleration and those types of things. In a limited capacity, he is an excellent change of pace, and you saw that he can generate some pressure," Coughlin said.
"He does have that unique ability, and you know what, he plays so hard on special teams. As a fullback, he's very physical, throws his body around up in the line of scrimmage. He can wear different hats."
Punter Brad Wing is helping Giants
Brad Wing, acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had another excellent night Thursday. His best punt was a 45-yarder that squirted sideways at about the 3-yard line and was downed at the Washington 1-yard line by Zak DeOssie.
"He's gotten the ball of quickly. You saw last night we were under pressure a couple of times and he got the ball away, which was outstanding. We had a ball downed at the one-yard line two weeks in a row. His hang time has been good, his get-offs have been good, his location has been outstanding," Coughlin said. "He's giving people a real interest in flying the field and being in position. So yeah, he's helped us."
Coach pleased with run defense
"It was the number one thing we had to stop, and we knew that. So that's our number one objective, there were many objectives, but that was number one. And our guys rose up against a very, very good offensive line. They had their runs, but we did a good job. The guys in there did a nice job, whether it be Selvie, whoever it might be. The guys did a very, very nice job. Hankins did a nice job, Bromley did a nice job. Guys that were rolled in there in those roles, Kerry Wynn did a nice job. The linebackers, Kennard did an outstanding job at the point of attack," Coughlin said.
On how playing time will be divided between Jon Beason and Uani 'Unga
"You know, I don't know. They're both outstanding players and we need them both. We had personnel combinations that we had Jon in, and Uani was in other combinations. And Jon was coming back for his first actual playing time, and we wanted to make sure that he was extended and got a chance to line up next weekend in anticipation of some more snaps," Coughlin said. "We have a young player that's made two outstanding interceptions, that's athletic, that is fast, and is growing into the position. And we have a veteran that is so extremely well-thought of, he's voted captain of the defensive team, and we feel like we're fortunate in that we'll be able to utilize both of these players."