Even More Coughlin


Michael Eisen has another Tom Coughlin series of questions up on the Giants site today. Here are some of the highlights:

On Eli Manning..

Q: What’s your message to Eli in terms of this season?
A: Take it to the next level. It’s always the same. I chart all the previous year and we sit and talk about where he has to go and what would be the next level of improvement for Eli and we chart it. He sees it and his completion percentage and his reduction of turnovers, touchdown passes, all those things. They’re point blank for him. I’ll give that to him and the quality of play and the step he took a year ago. We expect it to take place again.

Q: What about his work with the wide receivers?
A: He’s always talking about what he sees: ‘Did he see what I saw?’, you know. ‘I expected you to make this kind of a reaction and you did something else. What did you see that I missed? Did you read the coverage? Did you know the other corner had dropped off.’ He’s always talking to all the receivers and he’s taking a lot of responsibility with it because of our young guys.

Eli has taken it to the next level each and every year since 2007. He just seems to be more and more confident, better communication with all his receivers, more deep connections, more completions, more of everything.  He is a true team leader in that respect – leads by example. The young receivers responded well last year to his extra time for preparation as well and I look to see that continued this year.

Q: What about your receiving corps? They surprised a lot of people last year:
A: More things are expected of that group. Greater consistency, greater productivity. Obviously the loss of Domenik did not help. He was a very stable force there. He could play all the positions. The young guys have to continue to improve. I talked to you the other day about Ramses. They’ve got to be part of a receiving group in terms of the depth and quality that we want. It’s got to be an everyday thing for him as well. I think it doesn’t help any that Hakeem is out one practice a day and now Manningham is out with whatever he has, soreness in the groin area. When they miss a practice, they really don’t understand that they’re not just missing a practice, they miss opportunities for the team to continue to move along with the guys who have proven on the field that they can play. It’s a group we are expecting a lot from.

On the offensive line rookies…

Q: What does Beatty have to show you?
A: Get better. Just keep getting better. Do a better job with assignments, consistency.

On defensive strategy…

Q: How are the cornerbacks adjusting to Perry Fewell’s new techniques?
A: Okay. They’re doing alright. I think they’ve all shown at different times an aggressiveness. Obviously you saw a couple more catches out there by those guys. So it’s been good. Technically, they’re doing okay. They’re doing well. Just little things here and there just with alignment, etc. that they have to be coached.

Q: One of the coaches said you guys might give up a few more catches but the goal is to give up less passing yardage:
A: Well, I hope we don’t give up more. I don’t think anybody wants that. I think what they’re saying is if we shut down the big plays and stop the big plays, we would be much further ahead than we were last year.

Coughlin’s bullet points have always been – the Giants must control the time of possession, create turnovers while not giving up any,  shut down the big plays, run the ball well and at the same time your defense must stop the run…. and if they accomplish all those things the Giants should win every time.  It is a decent recipe steeped in Giants history with success.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about Giants history – particularly concerning the years when I was younger and didn’t have a grasp of game plan and scheme, things of that nature.  But when Bill Belichick was defensive coordinator for the Giants under Bill Parcells, one thing he did during the Superbowl in 1991 against the Bills was design a defensive scheme that allowed short passes to occur, nothing deep or over the middle, and allowed Thurman Thomas to run. But the main goal was that it didn’t allow any big plays to the end zone and it did not allow any completions over the middle to Andre Reed.   It was a strategy that largely worked using only 2 down lineman, and at times 6 defensive backs. Before that game Belichick basically told his players ‘Look, we’re going to let Thomas gain 100 yards on the ground.’  They couldn’t believe it — but the philosophy was simple on paper and proved to be effective at game time.  If you let them run consistently then they’re not scoring touchdowns on big plays.

That’s essentially what Coughlin is clarifying here but with the passing defense in question, it’s allowing more underneath throws but at the same time not allow anything deep down field for quick scores. Do not allow the other team room to run their offense on their terms, defensively — you’re going to control the flow of the game.  Fun to think about, and an exciting transition to watch unfold at camp.

[full transcript here]