Good afternoon. A couple of
thoughts – I thought that Eli (Manning) played well last night, and I
thought that he did a good job of managing the game. His percentage
of pass was up. He did not throw an interception. There was one ball
down in the green zone there that could have been a problem, but he
had a very good quarterback rating last night. He did a good job in
all phases of his game. His pass-protection was good. I thought for
two weeks in a row we protected the passer well. I thought that was a
We did get the two turnovers. The
unfortunate thing with one of them – with (Mathias) Kiwanuka’s – was
that in fumbling it back to them, they went ahead and score(d) on that
Offensively, we had a lot of
numbers last night and not a lot of points. But it was a better
performance and I do feel better about that aspect of it. The irony
of it is our execution was better, and yet we had seven penalties on
the offensive side of the ball. Three of the personal fouls really
hurt us in terms of the yardage that was lost, and then we made the
yardage up, but at the end a couple of opportunities to get it in the
end zone, we didn’t make it. Had we not had the penalties, perhaps
that yardage would have been a part of a touchdown drive. That was
the negative, I thought, with regard to the penalties hurt(ing) us.
We had obviously the two opportunities in the green zone which we did
not score (on), which would have meant the difference in the game –
two touchdowns there rather than two field goals. And the fourth-down
call, which I’ll stick with, would have allowed us to keep the ball
and been in some kind of a scoring drive. It would have kept the ball
away from them and not allowed them to have the ball again.
I was disappointed in our kickoff
coverage, our kickoff return. I didn’t think either kicker really
kicked the ball well in terms of the kickoffs. But the return games –
they averaged the 36-yard line, we averaged the 30. I thought we
could have done a better job with that. I thought we could have
covered better than we did. Other than the turnovers, defensively I
don’t have a whole lot to comment on on that side of the ball.
Q: When you look at the two red
zone tries that were field goals instead of touchdowns, did they do
anything differently defensively?
A: Not really. I think on
that…Where we had the running play that lost a yard, I think they made
a good play. I don’t know that that’s exactly the way they would have
drawn it up. We had a wham on and the nose and the backside backer
scraped over the top to the same side, which is normally not what you
see. We had an opportunity to score on the pass to (Jeremy) Shockey.
I thought it was put in the right spot. That would have been a
touchdown. We tried a screen – what we call a knock-down screen –
They had a blitz on and we weren’t able to distinguish Tiki (Barber)
right away. With the pressure in the face of the quarterback it ended
up (that) the ball (was) going at the feet of the receiver rather than
take a chance on a turnover. There’s no question those were critical
situations in the game and I told our team today that despite the
numbers, points are the key and we needed to come away with the two
scores. We really haven’t scored the kind of points that I think are
needed for quite a few games now, and I think that’s something we
definitely have to get back on track with.
Q: After losing four straight
games, it’s human nature to get down. Do you keep reinforcing the big
A: Absolutely, and then I did it
today when I first walked into the room. I took a little bit of a
different tactic in that I wanted them to realize that we had
opportunities to win – of course, we had opportunities last week as
well. I really wanted them to understand how it was we lost the game
again and in no uncertain terms that these are two games we thought we
could have won last week and this week and we let them get away. We
did so because the quality of our play isn’t quite where it should
be. We’re spotty in our play and when we do have opportunities, we
haven’t taken advantage of them. I’m disappointed in the drives to
score on our defensive team. Obviously the last drive, a 42-yard pass
on first down play when the game has been tied – that’s very, very
disappointing. The third-and-one run of 25 yards right before the
half that put them in field goal range – that was very disappointing
to me as well. I thought we had some containment problems with the
quarterback, who was athletic, liked to maneuver, liked to get
outside, likes to have a little bit more time to let people get
downfield, and I thought that was something that we lost containment
on the quarterback on a number of occasions as well. But I did point
out the fact that this race for the playoffs is still very much in our
grasp, and that the most important thing for us, as we noted going
into last week’s game, is that we need to be playing our best football
right now. That’s why I said, I’m encouraged by the way our offense
played. What we have to do is get ourselves in harmony again with all
three phases playing smart football and playing well together at the
same time at the right time of the year. We did some things that were
encouraging, but other things that need to be corrected. Certainly, I
had already mentioned that the penalties on the offensive side of the
ball were very discouraging. Not getting the ball in the end zone
there with the two tight green zone opportunities – we’d been pretty
darn good at that. Dallas has been an excellent team at keeping
people out of the end zone. They’re one of the highest-rated teams in
the league at I think 50 percent allowing down there – 48 percent—but
there’s no excuse for us not getting the ball in. Then we gave up two
big plays with the run, two big plays with the pass, which we knew we
couldn’t afford to do. We also allowed them off the hook on third
down. They achieved at 55 percent on third down, which is something
we knew we’d have to do something about. We did win the time of
possession. They were the number one team in the league coming in in
time of possession. We did win on the time of possession. So as I
said, we did a lot of good things, we did some very bad things and a
game which we had an opportunity to do something about – even if it’s
get it into overtime and have an opportunity to play overtime – that
slipped away through our fingers in the closing seconds of the game.
We’re disappointed in that, but as I mentioned to you, I also pointed
out to the players that our destiny is truly in our hands and we do
have something to say about how this finishes here. We need to play
our best football right now and we have a four-game schedule in front
Q: You started out by saying you
used a different tactic in talking to them. How was it different?
A: I’ve been, I think, more
encouraging in some of these losses of late because I know how down
they are. I was today, too, but I also wanted them to realize that
we’re losing these games because of what’s taking place on the field.
We’re beating ourselves. We’re hurting ourselves, and the fact of the
matter is, the games are slipping away from our grasp by what’s
happening right in front of us on the field. There are some plays
made, but there are not enough plays made. The untimeliness of some
of the things that are happening is foolish. The penalties were
foolish. Where did they come from? We’ve had a pretty good grasp on
the penalties. We’ve had a pretty good handle on penalties here over
the last few weeks, and all of a sudden we get nine penalties, seven
of them on offense. Where in the world did that come from, and why
would it show up now? And being excited about playing is not the
answer. We talked about being smart and we talked about controlling
our emotions under pressure and performing well. I did think that our
offensive passing game showed improvement. I thought our speed up the
field showed improvement. There’s no doubt our pass-protection was
better. Our quarterback was better. So that’s something for our
entire team to take as a positive. On the other hand, the chunks that
we gave up were not a good sign. So it kind of balances off with the
good and the bad and obviously it’s not a very good day, having lost.
Q: How dangerous have these
penalties been for you guys?
A: Well, that’s what I said. We’ve
been in pretty good shape. We’ve been in pretty good control of that
situation. Last night they were very instrumental. You play a good
defensive team and you set yourself back – The 2nd-and-25, for example
– you’re not going to make many, have many opportunities to come out
from under that. We did get out from under one or two of them and
they weren’t – What I tried to make our team understand is if we put
that yardage on the end of the run or, for example, the one screen
that was 43 yards, that puts you inside the 10-yard line right now.
That’s the point that I’m trying to make. There’s, again, some of the
idea of team and focus and one and hurting our team with those things,
those penalties is what upset me more than anything else.
Q: That’s something you’ve
always preached – don’t take bad penalties. How can you as a coach to
get them back to where they were?
A: I think they’re foolish.
There’s no call for it. The Jason Bell penalty, that’s tough. You
have a guy running toward the end zone and you get there at the same
time. He changes shoulders as if he’s going out of bounds and he
drops his shoulder…The call on David Tyree, I don’t even know if
there’s contact there, to be honest with you. He’s on the ground in
front of the linebacker. I don’t see anything there. But the other
two are legitimate penalties and they hurt.
Q: Are some of these penalties a
byproduct of the guys being on a losing streak and pressing –
A: I wouldn’t go along with that.
If you want to know the honest truth, they’re stupid. They’re bad
penalties. They have no business in a game of that nature with that
much significance. You pull away. You’re smart enough not to get
involved in that. I don’t care what the circumstance is. You have to
learn that the penalty is devastating to your team and I don’t care
what the circumstance is, you have to walk away.
Q: Other than reminding them of
it, what are the repercussions of committing these penalties?
A: What you’re doing to them, what
I’m doing to them. You have so many people and they represent your
team. You stand in front of the whole team and you point out the
penalties. You read the names and they’re all aware of it. Do we run
a couple of laps? I wish it was that simple.
Q: Because there are some guys
in there who you just said had stupid penalties who don’t think they
did anything stupid.
A: I just mentioned the four of
them and gave you my opinion of all four of them.
Q: It seems like it would be a
problem if a player instead of saying, ‘I’m sorry, that was stupid,’
says, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. I was protecting myself.’
A: I didn’t see any real
Q: Plaxico Burress said he was
protecting himself, because there are guys out there who want to hurt
A: I didn’t see it that way.
Q: On 2nd-and-4 twice, you ran
three pass-plays and Brandon Jacobs wasn’t on the field for any of
them. What is his role if not for those situations?
A: He comes in by circumstance, by
situation, with the personnel that goes along with it. If it was goal
line, Brandon would have been in there. If it was short-yardage,
Brandon would have been in there. He plays by personnel and by
situation. He’s not in there in certain personnel combinations.
Q: Is there something they were
doing there that made you think that the pass-play would be more
A: Something they were doing? Not
necessarily, no. Not necessarily.
Q: Does the way Jacobs has been
playing in certain situations make you want to put him on the field in
different situations, or is it too late in the season for that?
A: No, there’s nothing late about
it, and I think the rotation has been pretty good. The only time it’s
really suffered is when we haven’t had a lot of snaps. The rotation
last night was pretty good. It could have been a little bit more, but
his role is what his role is. He does play. You saw him play in the
third-down package a little bit last night. There’s some
Q: Was the containment of Romo,
especially on the Witten play, but on the last three Dallas drives
where they scored the biggest issue for you?
A: That was a very big issue for
me. Plus, we didn’t have much pressure on him. When he got outside,
he had little or none, which is the way he plays. You’ve studied
him. You watch how he plays. But one of the problems that I have
with that is that this is how we prepare. This guy is an athletic
quarterback who is mobile, who does utilize opportunities when he sees
a rusher duck inside or he thinks he can get to the edge to allow him
to throw the ball further down the field. The pass to Witten, now
Witten is running like what you would call a pump. He’s faking a
short route and then up the seam. By virtue of the quarterback
bouncing outside like that, the whole thing had an opportunity to
demonstrate itself even further. Our half-field cover safety got way
too wide because there was a receiver going up the sideline, which is
no excuse. He put the ball right on the money between the two guys,
which he does very well when he’s on the move. To me, you have to
keep him in the pocket and when he gets outside the pocket you lose –
He’s not trying to run, now. He’s trying to set himself up to throw
the ball further down the field.
Q: Did the three injured guys
you had that returned come through the game all right, and were there
any other injuries?
A: There’s, I think, basic bumps
and bruises but I don’t think anything…No setbacks there, that I know
Q: Is this a unique situation to
deal with Kiwanuka two weeks in a row where he makes great plays, and
then in the same play it’s followed by –
A: You know, the only thing about
it is he’s a young kid who plays very, very hard. If you go back to
any comments that I’ve made since training camp on the thing that’s
been most impressive. He has outstanding stamina, he plays very hard,
he is a smart guy. He gives you everything he’s got. There’s not a
lot more you can ask out of a young kid like that. He seemed to be in
position a lot of times last night. I know he only got the one sack,
but he was in position a lot of times. He’s been struck with two
devastating plays. One week after another. He bounced back well from
the one a week ago and he’ll bounce back well from this one. You’ve
seen it as well as I have, and there really isn’t much of an
explanation. You would hope that if that opportunity came again – he
does have a couple of interceptions, now – that he would secure the
ball better and think about that first, before even running.
Q: On the Witten play, you
mentioned that Will Demps had gotten too wide. Lately for him, he’s
had some missed tackles, which are obvious, but there are other times
when the ball is thrown in his area and he’s the closest guy there…Is
it as bad for him as it looks?
A: He certainly can play better.
A: Both coverage and run support.
Q: Is the knee an issue for him?
A: I don’t really think so. He has
never used it for any reason.