Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: Describe what it was like in here at halftime:
A: A lot of up and downs. There was nothing to be up about, but we’re a positive team. We stayed positive and we never doubted ourselves. One thing about us is that we’re not a team that really flinches. The guys spoke up: Osi spoke up, Tuck spoke up, and they said ‘Cut the B.S., I don’t care what’s going on, let’s go out there and play.’ We don’t want anyone coming in our house, eat up our food, take our wives, and leave. We’re dogs, and we went out there hunting.
Q: Talk about the final series and how you defended the Jaguars offense:
A: It’s all about attitude and it’s all about heart. That’s one thing that no man on this planet can measure, which is heart. Our team has a lot of heart, and it’s all about wanting to. We wanted to go out there and make sure we get a win for our team, get a win for our coach, and get a win for ourselves. That’s what we did.
I think Rolle summed it up better than anyone, he tells it like it is. But the B.S. is exactly what happened yesterday after the half, they allowed 3 points and the Jags run game came to a screeching halt. Reminded me of the 2007 Cowboys game where Marion Barber had like 200 yards in the first half and when the Giant came out after halftime, completely stopped the ground attack for the rest of the day. Adjustments are something to be proud of… mental adjustments, attitude, game play — after watching that second half it’s all about making adjustments sometimes.
More transcripts after the jump from Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and Justin Tuck.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin
That was a hard fought battle. I thought our second half was outstanding and our guys came back. At the half, we talked about the fact that our first half wasn’t good enough, we came back in the second half, did some very good things and I take my hat off to the coaches and players for the way they competed and played in the second half and we found a way to win the game and that’s what we planned on doing coming in – somehow, some way, we’d find a way to win.
Q: What do you attribute the change in the second half to?
A: Well, we made a few adjustments at halftime and we got a couple of things straightened out – we didn’t see the option in the second half. They hurt us with that early on. We had to work on that at halftime and make sure we were okay on that. They did a good job – they moved the ball around on us, they used a variety of people, they ran the ball in the first half and we came out in the second half and did a better job of that and got after the quarterback a little bit. I think that on the last drive, there’s the ball sitting at midfield and we kept coming and we had some big hits there and set them back, but David Garrard played a heck of a game and we were able to find a way there at the end to win it.
Q: Are you surprised that they were able to run the ball on you so easily in the first half?
A: Well, that probably isn’t the right word, but that was our primary thing – to win the physical battle and stop the run and they did hurt us on the run and everyone in that locker room knew it at halftime, so I don’t know if surprised is the right word, but disappointed…yeah, that’ll work.
Q: Talk about not getting a touchdown on the first drive and having to settle for three.
A: Well, we’re disappointed only getting three. We did that a couple of times and it looked like it might be a factor. The two-point play – we went for it at that time. I usually wait for the fourth quarter to do something like that, there was a lot of time, but we calculated that that was the time we needed it. It did give us a little boost. It was a great play by Ahmad, obviously. They had some people over there, plus the safety, and he still found a way to get into the end zone, but that was a momentum changing play for us as well.
Q: Boss’ touchdown – was that a hot read?
A: Sight adjust. Yeah. Twinkle toes. Sight adjust. He did a nice job, he caught the ball, he saw it, Eli got the ball out of his hand quickly – it was third and ten and he avoided a tackler and was able to not only make a first down, but score.
Q: Eli’s throw to Manningham was like that too.
A: That was an incredible play there. He threw the ball, the DB had his back to the quarterback, Mario turned around and he got himself in position, caught the ball, and we came up and ran a play quickly, but it was right in front of me and I knew it wasn’t a challenge play, but the running play that we used in that situation also gained a big chunk.
Q: To see the guys on both sides of the ball play so well with the game on the line – just talk about that.
A: That was something that we needed – we needed to rise up and have a finish like that. We’re well aware of the circumstance that we’re in, that the division is in, that the conference is in and we needed to keep pace. Our guys were – I was really pleased with our second half and the way that they came back and fought. I was a little surprised we didn’t seem to have that in the first half, but we sure realized it quickly in the second half.
Q: Kevin Boss is a clutch player.
A: When you look at it, that play at that point…certainly we didn’t take as much time off the clock as we would have liked to, but nevertheless it was a big play by a guy that gives us those kinds of plays and it was a really, really outstanding time for him to that.
Q: Can you talk about the spark that Brandon Jacobs gave you?
A: He did and I thought Bradshaw did, too, and I liked the third down pickup that Danny Ware came in and made for us on the option route and Danny was used on kickoff return as Blackmon was inactive and he did a nice job of that as well, so I think that all three guys really contributed.
Q: You had Coe and Jackson in on the last drive…
A: Aaron Ross got nicked and came out and then eventually went back in. Even then, we got the penalty on Aaron Ross and then we got the consecutive sacks that knocked them back.
Q: Who saw the Hagan challenge?
A: Well, we communicated. They had a TV timeout and we were able to talk about it. To be honest with you, it wasn’t absolutely clear and we didn’t get an awful lot of looks at it, but finally I made the decision to go ahead and challenge and it worked out for us. We would have liked to have seven though. That’s what the idea was. We put the ball inside the five with that play.
Q: Do you need to bring pressure more like you did at the end?
A: Well, we felt like that because of the circumstance. They started right out on the two-minute and the pocket presence of the quarterback was obvious. The other significant parts of their offense were probably put to rest for a while and the quarterback hurt us coming out of the pocket today. He’s frustrating.
Q: What concerns do you have after this game?
A: I’m going to enjoy this game. This was a game that we felt like we needed to win. We needed to be 7-4. We have a six-game schedule, we’re 1-0 in that schedule, so my concerns are going to wait a little while.
Q: Did the officials explain to you the Reynaud fair catch call?
Q: No turnovers and you got two.
A: I was going to get on my knees in the locker room. Probably shouldn’t say that – I want to make sure it stays that way for a while.
QB Eli Manning
Q: This was a big one.
A: We simplified some things a little bit. We moved the ball really well on the offense. We’ve been really good in the red zone up until today. We got in there and that’s kind of the only time we made some mistakes really. But we got in there. In the first series we had a drop and we still had a chance. But they made a good play on the third down and stopped us. We had the holding call on the other one. They took away a touchdown and we had some wrong routes run on the other one. We had to settle for a field goal. So we have to fix that a little bit. But for the most part the guys stepped up and did some really good things. No turnovers, which is a really big goal for us that we really wanted to do and we got that accomplished. We kind of said it would be a game if we had patience and took the game to the fourth quarter and we had to find a way to win. Sure enough that was exactly what happened. The guys stepped up and made some huge plays in the fourth quarter on our final drive. Mario Manningham had a great catch from the sideline. Then Kevin Boss catching a quick pass. Smart move on that 3rd and 10 they’re going to go all out blitz, make us go in quick thinking they’ll tackle us, and make us kick a field goal or whatnot. Sure enough he breaks the tackle and goes in for the touchdown. So big plays all around the field for us and a good win.
Q: Mario – What happened on that play?
A: I got off rhythm a little bit. I was a little scared the corner was going to overlap it and get over the top so I had to hold onto it for a second. I needed to re-gather and get it out there. I thought I was going to have to go back to my route. I kind of thought he was going to win. I was just a little late throwing it and didn’t get enough on it.
Q: Why did the team look different in the second half? Was it Tuck’s speech at halftime?
A: We knew we had to come out and play better in the second half. Offensively we said, hey, we’re doing some good things, we just have to finish drives. When we get down there we have to finish. Sure enough the defense gets a turnover and we do the exact same things. We went down there and settled for a field goal. But, after that we couldn’t have any more field goals. Guys stepped up and made some big plays. Mario Manningham down the sideline getting a touchdown. We did some good things. The defense obviously played outstanding in the second half. They got us the ball a few more times and held for a field goal for one of them and gave us a chance to get down there, get the touchdown, and take the lead.
Q: With the touchdown to Boss what did you see from the defense and how did you communicate to Boss?
A: It’s an all out blitz. At first I thought they were going to come for the weak side. It was a blitz they’d done before and it was kind of last minute. I just hit it to Boss and thought it might be that blitz zero. He saw it. He went up the field looking for the ball. I got it to him. It’s one of those tough situations, 3rd and 10. They’re thinking you’re going to throw it short for a lot of those and we’d have to kick a field goal to tie the game. It was really just a great job by him recognizing it and making the guy miss and get the touchdown. You’re kind of just hoping it’ll be close, maybe he’ll fall forward and get the first down. You’re not really thinking of a touchdown on that play. But sure enough he did a good job.
Q: How much did he step up in general given the injuries at the wide receiver position?
A: We knew Kevin would have to come in and have a big role today. We thought it was going to be more on third down. We didn’t get to him much on third down. There were a couple play actions, first and second downs, a couple corner routes, and then at the end a couple of big catches like the touchdown catch. We knew he and Beckum were going to come in and have to make some catches. Beckum had a nice corner route early on. Manningham played a big part. It was kind of the three guys that have been here the longest. You’re going to have to look at those guys and have them step up more. Those guys did a great job.
Q: Jacobs has had some ups and downs this season. How much of this game was an up game for Jacobs? What did you think of his performance?
A: Brandon ran hard. The offensive line did a great job. I think we simplified things there a little bit, not as many run plays. We did a few things really well and I think that paid off. Brandon ran well. Both he and Ahmad ran really hard and protected well. We did a lot of good things and just played a smarter football game. That’s what we had to do to win.
Q: What do you guys have to do to be more effective in the red zone?
A: We did really good all year. We had some chances. I think I had Hagan open. On 3rd and 2 we had a run and Clayton cracked the defense. I pitched it to Ahmad. On the next play we tried to do the same thing. I think I had him open, I just couldn’t quite see him. We had a little penetration by the defensive tackle. I think I had him early, but I couldn’t quite find him. We had some good plays. We just have to fix things up there. We had a drop here. We had a hold there. We had a wrong route on one. You can’t afford to make mistakes and a lot of those brought us touchdowns back. We have to fix those things up and that’s not a problem. We’re always going to have good stuff down there. On the first one to have 3rd and 2 where we’re going to try to run the ball in coverage and their defensive line did a good job and stopped Ahmad. But, we got the 2 point play. That was the same look. He ran over that safety into the endzone for a big time 2 point conversion.
Q: How much miscommunication was there early? Did you feel you were searching until you finally found those veteran plays in the end?
A: No, I don’t think it was much miscommunication. I thought the guys, Clayton, and the new guys like Hagan and everybody were pretty much on the same page throughout the day. There were a few things here or there. A lot of it was that everybody was doing the right thing it was just a matter of executing.
RB Brandon Jacobs
Q: How big was that?
A: Coming from our two game losing streak we really needed to win it with the race with the other teams for the top of the NFC. We still have a lot of games. Hopefully we can get some guys back for next week’s game.
Q: How about the offensive line? What is it like playing behind this line?
A: Today those guys came off the ball. They knocked people off the ball. They created holes. They played their butts off. We tried to get as much done as possible.
Q: You were named a starter this week. What was the dynamic like between you and Ahmad?
A: In sports a starter is who goes out there first and I don’t think all that matters as long as you’re out there and you get your opportunity. I got the opportunity to go out and have a few more plays than I normally have. It wasn’t anything different as far as preparation because we did everything the same. I just wanted to win. I was just tired of all the stuff going on. I just wanted to win a football game and keep moving forward.
Q: You’ve been here a few years and the team has struggled in the second half. What’s different about this team?
A: I think we have a lot of guys in the locker room that have a lot of heart, a lot of determination, and will power to come out and play to win. I thought our defense did a terrific job of stopping them. As an offense we got down to the red zone three times and couldn’t put it in. That has to be points for us because for the first 5 or 6 games of the season we were putting it in from the red zone 100%. We have to get back to doing that. That’s 21 points that we could’ve had that we let fall.
Q: What was said at halftime among you guys?
A: We just looked in each other’s eyes. The guys know what it is. The guys know we need this win. The guys know they’re capable of coming out and playing as good as anybody in the National Football League. That’s what happened. The light switch came on. Tuck gave a nice little speech to the defense and the offense heard it. It got everybody pumped up and ready to play football. We all came out there. The defense was making plays and the offense came out there and moved people off the ball and we did our best to get in the hole.
Q: What about that final touchdown drive? There were a number of great plays, one by Manningham, one by you, and one by Boss.
A: At the end of a game like that when you know you have the opportunity to score and really know that the football team hasn’t stopped you all game long, we just knew we had to get in there. We ran the ball for a nice chunk. Then Eli threw the ball. Manningham made a great play. That was a big time finish. That’s what happens. Guys concentrated more. They focused on what they had to do and we won the game.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: Why were they so effective running in the first quarter?
A: First half was pretty much crap. I give them credit. They have a great team, a great running back. It’s hard to see him when he ducks behind his own lineman. You hit him, and he falls forward, he probably falls forward for three or four more yards. In the second half, we just came in and looked each other in the eyes and realized that, right now, we’re kind of getting better. Our defense, the one thing you don’t want to have your quarterback tell you is that they’re tougher; they are being more physical than you. So, we just challenged each other. The second half, we picked our energy up. We played with passion and we were able to get the stops.
Q: What went on in the room, what did you say to the guys?
A: Basically, I just talked about how you allow somebody to come into your house and take over. At that point, they were doing whatever they wanted to do on offense. We just talked about doing our thing. Regardless of what they called, regardless of what defense we were on, we couldn’t allow ourselves to be not on the same page, communication breakdowns, you know guys doing their own things, and I just challenged each of them. I told them that I was playing like crap, I told them that we were playing like crap and that in the second half we need to pick it up. Just try to create a spark and it worked.
Q: David Garrard, is he the type of player you look forward to or is he a lot harder because he’s more mobile than most quarterbacks?
A: He makes it tough. Obviously, he’s not Michael Vick as far as being a guy that looks to run. He picks his moments well. He does a great job of prolonging plays and when he sees an alley, he’ll go and get eight, he’ll get nine, and that’s what they wanted to do. They kept him in rhythm. Anytime an offense can run the ball like them, anytime they get it to third and one, third and two situations, they’re right back to where they want to be. He did some great things with his feet, but the second half we tried to chop our fronts up a little bit, give them some different looks, and hold on.
Q: Your sack in the fourth quarter, what did that play mean?
A: We’re going to go after guys and it was a situation where we felt as though we knew what they were going to do, and he dialed up a great blitz for us. Antrel [Rolle] was screaming off the edge and I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time I guess. I think, at that point, it really solidified to them, not to us, but Jacksonville, you could just tell in the huddle, they kind of looked at it as, ‘dang, here they come.’ And our crowd got behind us and our energy level really rolled at that point. Because they advanced the ball pretty well up to that point. Obviously, they needed a touchdown, and we were kind of in a give but don’t break defense, but we held them right there and we were able to get more plays after that and finish the game.
Q: What’s different when Jason Pierre-Paul’s plays like he did today?
A: I’ve always said that JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] is one of the most athletic big men I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the guy that, once he puts it all together on the defensive line and what we’re asking him to do and things of that nature, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. And today, I talked to him on the sideline and I just told him, ‘Listen, I don’t care what schemes they’re giving you, I don’t care what they’re doing, just play fair.’ And he did that, and he played well today. I hope this is one of those stepping-stones and he can just elevate his game from it.
Q: Is this a wake-up call for you guys on defense and for the whole team?
A: I hope so, because they’re a really good football team. We knew it would be a game that would come down to the last drive, win in the fourth quarter. We knew exactly what it was going to be and they did a great job of being physical and they kept everything where they wanted it in the first half. In the second half, it just showed our resilience. We had a lot of obstacles to overcome today. Our offense is banged up. Eli [Manning] and those guys did a great job of hanging in there and putting up points when they needed to considering the guys we have out on offense. It was a complete team effort. Hopefully it is a wake-up call. Hopefully it is something that can get us steamrolling. Sometimes you just have to win some games ugly.
[More transcripts at Giants.com]