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Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning Discuss Sunday's Game Against the New Orleans Saints

New York Giants Head Coach and Quarterback talk about Sunday's contest


New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What inconsistencies have you seen recently with your football team?
"The thing that happened the other night that was totally off the wall was the penalties. We've been averaging four penalties a game and had nine. They came at critical times and came either as drives mounted in to the green zone which created long-yardage situations which we did not overcome. The not scoring of touchdowns in the green zone has been there before, but the penalties had not. At the end of the game we hit the third-and-ten that probably gave us twenty yards away from field goal range and that was called a holding penalty as well. We did a good job on third down (and) did not turn the ball over. We did not necessarily take the ball back away from them, although each team punted three times. We did get a key turnover away from Washington and did have a nice stop ourselves. They were one for three and we were one for two in the green and the red. Not enough, too little too late. You're not going to win any game in this league with 16 or 17 points. We always try to understand and appreciate that fact. Consistency is the word, four quarters of it. Special teams contributed two huge holding penalties, one we had the kickoff return at mid-field and had a holding penalty. Those issues have to be controlled and the individuals that perform those have to understand their responsibility. We shoot ourselves in the foot and don't give ourselves a chance, so who is it that wins? Who actually beats you? You contributed greatly to the loss yourself so there is no one to blame but you."

Is the green zone the 30-yard line?
"Green zone is what you call the red. The 30 (yard line) is the fringe."

Why do you call it the green zone?
"Go. Green lights go."

You mentioned your team needs to run the table. How have your teams done so well at responding when their backs are against the wall?
"We're resilient. We've been resilient for any number of years. The caliber and the quality of the people that we have on this team have risen up with our backs to the wall and played well with that kind of a circumstance. It's maybe not something that you design or want to take place but it has and so be it. Last year we had it down to where we had to win twice at the end of the year to ensure (postseason). One was a divisional game against Dallas and that was important for us and we did win it. We started to play our best ball. Right now we're still that up-and-down kind of thing and we've got to iron that out."

Can you talk about Steve Spagnuolo and his time on your staff?
"Steve did a nice job, a very good job for us. He's a heck of a young man. He's got great energy. He is good person. He and Maria make a great team and we were really happy to have him at that time. He came in and Steve was our defensive coordinator in our 2007-2008 Super Bowl (team). We were really proud to have Steve with us on our staff, he did an outstanding job. From the job that he did when he was a New York Giant, he had an opportunity to become a head coach."

When you look at the Saints defense, do you see his signature all over it?
"Yes. More and more."

What has been the challenge facing the Saints in the last few matchups between the teams?
"They've done an outstanding job. They've scored a lot of points against us and for a while it looks like we have a chance to match but it's never enough. In those situations there, they've done an outstanding job putting points on the board."

What are your thoughts on how the Saints have gone through this year?
"I am not sitting there watching their week-to-week and you are. From afar, to start out 0-4 and then come back and play the way they have it's a tribute to everyone in the organization, to ownership, to the coaches and the players that they've battled back from obvious adversity."

New York Giants QB Eli Manning
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tom Coughlin said yesterday that you guys probably need to run the table to make the playoffs. Is that the same mindset you have?
"I think that is the mindset. All you can do is take it one week at a time. Each week, it will be clearer what the circumstances are. This is a big game and a big week. All we have to worry about is doing everything we can to get a win against a good team in the Saints this week."

You guys have struggled in the last few matchups against the Saints. What do you think you guys can do to change that this week?
"Offensively, we have to take care of the ball and score when we get into the redzone. We need to try and get touchdowns and not settle for field goals. We need to do everything we can to control the ball offensively and play smart football."

It seems like it's kind of been an up and down season for you guys….
"Offensively, I thought we played well the past two weeks. I think our defense played well both weeks as well, particularly holding (Redskins) to 17 points. Offensively, we have to score points. We moved the ball well, but didn't score enough points. Part of that is field position and we had some penalties. We have had pretty good rhythm running the ball and throwing the ball well. We have to put it all together and finish some drives. We can't hurt ourselves with penalties and hurting our chances of getting touchdowns."

What do you remember about Steve Spagnuolo during his time with you guys?
"Coach Spags is a great guy and a great coach. When he does pressure, he has some unique pressures. He does a good job of showing you different looks. We have to be ready for a lot of different looks and some pressure things. They play a lot of coverage also so you have to be prepared for a lot of different looks. That's the challenge. If you can block up and have enough time for routes to develop we should be fine."

Is he doing some of the same things you guys saw when he was there?
"Yeah, a lot of similar things. They have some new things as well. Obviously it's been a number of years since he was here. We played him when he was the head coach in St. Louis. They will always have a new wrinkle each week and a new way to pressure to try and get to the quarterback. They will throw in zone and give their defensive backs an opportunity to be aggressive and make some plays."

Have you ever thought about the possibility of meeting your brother Peyton in New Orleans for the Super Bowl?
"We have a long way to go. Our focus is to try and get to the playoffs. It starts this week. That's not on the radar right now."

Has the possibility of that matchup been discussed amongst your family members?
"No, definitely not."

In your opinion, what makes a quarterback elite and how did that word become such a hot topic when discussing you as a quarterback?
"I know there is a definition for elite but I don't know what it is when describing quarterbacks. Last offseason I was asked if I thought I was an elite quarterback and I said yes. From there, it has just kind of taken its own course.

"As of now, it's not really a concern. I am not worried about where I rank among other quarterbacks or how people rank me. My concern is trying to play good football, get wins for the Giants and having a good season."

What quarterbacks would you consider elite?
"I don't have a list of elite quarterbacks. It's no concern to me. It doesn't make a difference. I don't have an elite group in my mind."

What was your reaction when you saw that Drew Brees threw five interceptions last week?
"I got to watch a little bit of the game and there were some tipped balls and different things going on. As a quarterback, you know every interception has a story for what happened. It's not always the quarterback's fault but as a quarterback you know you write the check for every ball that you throw. You have to take responsibility for them. That's just part of football. There are days where everything is going well and you have great calls being made against the right coverage. You have good protection, guys are getting open and it seems easy. Some days things are tough and you have to live with both of them."

Do you believe in Super Bowl hangovers and if so are you guys going through one right now?
"I think right now we are 7-5 and in first place in our division. We have four games left. I like where we are right now. We just have to make sure we finish strong. That is what it is going to come down to. Its starts this week with the Saints game. We are going against a good team and we have to make sure we are prepared to play good football."

The Louisiana high school championships are this week and I know you still have a lot of respect for high school football here. Who do you like John Curtis or Evangel?
"Both teams have a great history but it's hard to pull against John Curtis. They have been so good for so many years. Evangel has as well but I guess I will take my odds on John Curtis."

What do you remember most about your days at Ole Miss and what do you think of this year's team?
"It's been fun to watch Ole Miss this year. They have won some games and had a couple opportunities to win some other SEC games that came down to the wire. It's been a fun season watching and seeing them compete in the SEC. They got a big win against Mississippi State at the end. I have a lot of fond memories of my time in Oxford and playing for Ole Miss. Going to the Cotton Bowl and winning there was obviously a big win. Getting some wins at LSU and beating Alabama. Those are all fun things. You remember big wins and spending time with your teammates. Those are all great memories. Going to celebrate in The Grove after a big win is fun as well."

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