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Steve Spagnuolo hopes Dallas game wasn’t best Giants’ defense can play

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“Let’s not let that be the best game,” says defensive coordinator

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Giants gave up only seven points and 260 total yards, both season lows, Sunday while defeating the Dallas Cowboys for the second time this season. By just about any measure, it was the best defensive game the Giants have played during the 2016 season. Do not, however, tell defensive Steve Spagnuolo the Giants can’t play even better.

“Our goal now is to make sure that that game defensively is not our best game this year, so that has kind of been our focus, ‘Let’s not let that be the best game.’ And that is just all about getting better, so each day we try to get better,” Spagnuolo said.

The coach still hasn’t let go of the one play Dallas scored on Sunday night.

“The play that I remember is the 31-yard touchdown, that is just my nature. So when you ask me that question, I think more of the mistakes we made,” Spagnuolo said on Thursday. “I will say this, when I got in front of the guys on Tuesday, I did say this because I meant it, there was a lot of well-executed defense on certain downs. I felt like there were things that were happening in the game that we had done in practice and it went from practice to the game and that is encouraging. It wasn’t every play. We weren’t perfect. There were things that we can clean up and we will, but there was some really good execution.”

On the touchdown pass that bothered Spagnuolo, Dak Prescott used play-action and wide receiver Terrance Williams ended up behind the defense for an easy score.

“We had a couple people who lost their eyes a little bit,” Spagnuolo said. “It was more than one person, but it becomes an eye discipline thing and we talked about that there and it could have been prevented.”

Here are some other takeaways from Spagnuolo’s weekly Thursday meeting with the media.

On whether he knew Jackrabbit “Don’t call me Janoris” Jenkins could be this good ...

“I had a sense that he was. The best insight that we had and I believe this in this league – when you have coaches, personnel people, somebody that can give you insight on a player that has worked with that player and Tim Walton, who is one of our secondary coaches here, was in St. Louis with Janoris, so we had a wealth of information. Tim was convicted about Jackrabbit and he convicted us and away we went.”

On the play of defensive end Romeo Okwara ...

“He did a nice job. Look, the guy came up, the guys had confidence in him, we had confidence in him and he played confident himself, which you just never know when you get thrown in that situation and the guys like Snacks and OV, they were over there encouraging him the whole game. JPP was outstanding. He was over there encouraging him and I think that helped.”

On facing Matthew Stafford ...

“The quarterback is the catalyst, he makes it all go. I haven’t faced Stafford in a while, but I see a mature quarterback that can do anything and everything all these other great quarterbacks can do. He is managing the game, not managing, that is not a good word. He is controlling everything. He gets them in and out of good plays and bad plays and it is pretty impressive. We know how talented he is. He is a headache with his feet. When he runs the football, he runs like a fullback, so you have to be ready to take on a pretty big, thick quarterback, but I think he has been outstanding.”