With a Monday Night game this week, the Giants schedule is pushed back a day, making today Wednesday and Tom Coughlin’s press conference day in advance of the Indianapolis Colts. Coughlin was unusually energetic and fast talking, the best descriptor would be “Shot out of a cannon” as he faced the media for the first time following Jerry Reese’s mid season press conference when the team’s general manager offered an opinion that the Giants need to be more aggressive. His ebullient nature may have been in anticipation of questions along that line.
As is customary for an upcoming opponent, Coughlin started out by praising the Colts, calling them a “Fast start team,” and highlighting their number one ranked offense and first place standing in the AFC South division. He also praised their defense, pointing out that prior to Sunday’s drubbing by the Pittsburgh Steelers, it ranked third in the league and that they generate a “High percentage of pressure no matter the down and distance.” Coughlin also called the Colts special teams units “Outstanding.” This praise should always be taken with a grain of salt as Coughlin always heaps praise on opponents. It would be newsworthy if he said something negative.
Being at Metlife Stadium is a positive for Coughlin as he’s counting on the one fans to provide a positive environment and positive energy for the team. Coming off of two consecutive road losses, he sees the return home as a key to returning to winning ways.
When questions were permitted, they immediately focused on Reese’s comments, Coughlin was prepared, and said that execution is the key, and scoring is the objective. “I don’t care how it comes, short pass, short run, long pass, long run, kickoff return, punt return, interception return. In the end zone. We need more of them,” said Coughlin, each scoring option bursting forth like bullets from a machine gun. When the inevitable follow up question came, attempting to stir derision between Coughlin and Reese, his rate of speech slowed as he reiterated, “We’d like to get the ball in the end zone more, however it gets there.”
His point clear, Coughlin moved did say that if opportunities arise, the team will take shots down the field, but protecting the quarterback and the ball are of utmost importance. While Geoff Schwartz is expected to provide a boost to the offensive line, Coughlin said bluntly, “He hasn’t practiced yet,” when asked about the lineman, and could not comment about when he might be available until he sees him on the practice field.
Justin Pugh’s accountability and responsibility for a poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles impressed the head coach. He would like every player to stand up and show the great pride and toughness that Pugh showed coming off of that type of performance. Coughlin believes it lead to an improved performance against Dallas and better performances to come.
While Coughlin would not reveal much about the Giants offense, he did say there is comfort in it at this point in the season and the coaching staff has a firm handle on each players strengths and weaknesses therein. He would like to see better running plays and more big plays from the offense and believes the opportunities have been there but the team hasn’t taken advantage.
Asked about finishing games, Coughlin’s philosophy is simply, “If you play the game right, you will enter the fourth quarter with a chance to win. You have to play tight and not make some of the mistakes we’ve made to win the game.” His message to the players going into the second half of the season remains “Rise above the X’s and O’s.” Coughlin wants to see total commitment, no distractions, and their best effort in every game. By playing at a high level with consistency, this will lead to victory.
Generating turnovers and using special teams to create field position will put the Giants in position to win, said Coughlin, “Let’s do that.” Asked by a skeptic if the team can duplicate the efforts of the Steelers against the Colts, Coughlin said, “I’d love to have 639 yards of total offense, thank you very much.” Asked how to accomplish that, he summed it up in two words, “Make plays.” Adding another “Thank you very much” for emphasis, Coughlin exited, stage right.
Rashad Jennings (knee) and Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not practice and will likely miss the Monday night game. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) was limited. Steve Weatherford (ankle) will practice and play against the Colts.
Jon Beason was officially placed on injured reserve yesterday and Mike Harris signed to the active roster from the Lions practice squad. Linebacker Justin Anderson was signed to the practice squad on the second day he was eligible. Since Anderson was waived with an injury settlement, he could not be re-signed by the Giants until week 9, which started on Tuesday. The opening on the practice squad was created when linebacker Carlos Fields was waived.
No word on the officiating crew for Monday’s game yet. Giants360 will have the rundown on them when the information is available.