Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
What do you think is the key to getting the punt coverage fixed? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Evaluating the tape – both on the kickoff coverage and our punt coverage. It's a matter of fundamental football. We broke down in a couple of different areas in each phase, and it hurt us. There are times where you break down in the same way and it doesn't hurt you, because the ball is not in the same place or the return is not the same. We've had a repeat of errors that have hurt us. We need to fix it. The last time we gave up a score was 2011. Since that time, we've gone 70-odd games with zero points [allowed]. In the same time span, we've scored 62 points. That's a high standard. We're not used to this happening to us, and our players know that. It's my job to get us back up to that standard."
Do any of these corrections include personnel changes on the coverage team? (Jeff Zrebiec) "The personnel on gameday is the personnel. All hands are on deck on gameday. Everybody needs to contribute and everybody does. When you have 46 players up for gameday, then the jobs are divided up. Certain people do certain things. The guys that play more on offense and defense are doing less on special teams. That's the natural progression, and that will continue to be the case."
As much trouble as special teams had, you guys had a chance to help win the game putting the ball deep back in their territory before the interception play with ILB C.J. Mosley. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but is that something you stress as one of the positives?* (Jerry Coleman)* "We try to stress everything. There are positives and negatives in every game. When you play well and win a game, there is [still] no perfect game. You can go back to last year when you had some extraordinary games, and then you watch the tape and there are things you need to fix. It's the same way when things don't go well in your special teams phases, like this past game. There are also some very positive things. Some young players are growing. Sam [Koch] hit a couple of really good balls. We got them down in there deep. There are other factors that are really good. We had opportunities in the return game that didn't come to fruition, but we think we're growing. There are always positives to go with the things that we need to improve."
Is there concern about WR/RS Devin Hester Sr. at this point? It seemed like he had two shots to field a punt and improve the field position in the fourth quarter, but didn't. (Jeff Zrebiec) "Whenever you're fielding a bounce, the first thing you have to consider is ball security. The football is a very oddly shaped object, and sometimes it doesn't bounce exactly as you planned. What Devin did on that particular play is he got in front of the ball exactly as he's coached and exactly as he's done for years, and the ball didn't give him a good hop to field. As a result of that, the ball hit at the 27-yard line and rolled down deep into our own territory. It wasn't a fault of not fielding the bounce. It just wasn't a hop that you want to field, because the alternative is a turnover, and that's even worse."
**Is there a confidence factor? He's been around a long time, but do players like that sometimes go through situations where they're in a bit of a slump? *(Jerry Coleman) *"I don't see it. I don't see a slump. I don't see any confidence lacking. He's a great returner, and he's going to go."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Aside from the big run in Cleveland, your run defense has been great. How pleased have you been with that? (Luke Jones)"Last week, you kind of noticed, too, how important it is, because after we had the interception that ended up being a touchback and C.J. [Mosley] was out, they had two runs on us in that series that got them down there. We got them stopped for a field goal in that series, but they had a 15-yard run and a 13-yard run back to back. The problem that you have there is … I'm pleased. To go back to your original question: I'm pleased overall with it, but we can't give even those up. What happens is when a team starts being able to gash you for even an 8 or 9-yard run, all of a sudden you want to start creeping up to stop that, and then all of a sudden the ball gets thrown over your head, and big plays happen somewhere else. When all of the defensive coaches say the key is to stop the run, the [actual] key is don't let a team be two-dimensional on you. Either make them all run or all pass, but don't let them do both. Usually, that starts with the running game, because that's the way most offenses are. They're going to come out and see if they can establish some run and set up the pass. Overall, I'm happy with where we are statistically, but we can even be better."
**Dean, if ILB C.J. Mosley can't play, what sort of adjustment will it be to have someone new in that spot? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"You just have to go out and you just have to practice all week and get that guy ready for that position. It's not like we can come in and … Not that we would and we never have, even when Ray [Lewis] was out back in '12 … Albert McClellan came in and played, I think, three games during a stretch right there as a MIKE linebacker. You have to find the next best guy to play that position and get him a lot of reps at it and a lot of recognition at it."
We had CB Tavon Young pegged as an inside guy, but is he someone that can also go outside if you guys wanted to use him there?* (Garrett Downing)* "He did last week a little bit. He's a versatile guy. Most of the defensive backs have all, at some point in time [played inside and out]. Even Jerraud Powers and those guys have played outside at some point in their career. They all kind of know how to play out there. Some guys are just better as inside guys. Tavon is a versatile guy. I think he can hold his own outside."
Speaking of the numbers, are yards per play a real indicator for you? (Jerry Coleman)"It really is. In fact, to me, that stuff is more important than total yards. If we gave up 150 yards rushing, everybody would go, 'That's awful.' Well, not if it's on 40 carries. The same thing if you give up 350 yards in passing but it's on 60 passes; it's not as bad. Really, yards per attempt in rushing and yards per attempt in passing is probably more important sometimes than what just total yards are."
When you have an in-house promotion in the middle of the season, do interactions change in the building between coaches? (Joe Platania) "I don't think they change much at all. I interact with Marty all the time. All of the coaches interact with each other every day in meetings and stuff. I don't think it changes really at all."
If ILB C.J. Mosley can't play, who would be next in line to wear the helmet to hear the calls? (Jamison Hensley) "What we've done all through camp is Zach Orr can do it, even Albert [McClellan] can do it. These guys, they've all done the helmet communication. We had about four or five guys, linebackers that have done the helmet communication, in practice. Early in the season, like in training camp and OTAs when you can have the helmets on, they all have a headset. There's no rule; that's just in the game. In practice they all had the headset so they all get used to hearing it. That's usually not a big problem."
One guy fans have talked about is LB Kamalei Correa with the potential for ILB C.J. Mosley to be out. What have you seen from him? (Ryan Mink) "He's had a really good week of practice this week. Hopefully, that will be able to carry over. Personnel decisions are always made at the end of the week on who is up and who is not up. That's going to be John's [Harbaugh] decision, because he has to look at offense, defense and special teams. I want everybody up on defense, just like the offensive coaches want everybody up there. That's John's decision. But based on this week, I would say Kamalei has had a really good week. He has really done well. I'm not sure … Early on, we tried to teach him maybe too many positions and too much. Now he's honing in on just one. I saw a big improvement this week in him."
Giants QB Eli manning has struggled over the last few games. Have you noticed anything on film? (Edward Lee)"It's just like everything else. Usually when a quarterback struggles, it's a number of things. Give credit to the defenses that he's played. It could be offensive line. It could be a lot of things. The thing about it is as a defensive coach, when you're watching film, you never really watch the bad plays. All you watch is the good plays. It's kind of like saying, 'Well, these guys drop balls.' But what if they don't against us? You can't count on a guy dropping a ball. I can't count on a pass being bad. As a defensive coach, you look at the things that … Every great play that they've run, that's what you're trying to defend. Not any of the other stuff."
What worries you about QB Eli Manning? (Edward Lee) "First of all, the guy is an experienced guy that has a couple of Super Bowl rings, so he's obviously pretty darn good. He's got great command of the offense. It's his offense, he runs it. He does a lot with the protections. He does a lot with the … It's all at the line, so it's a no-huddle offense. It's his baby. I know they radio things in, but it's his baby. If he does the job of recognizing the coverage and what you're in, he's going to get you just like his brother. That's what worries me the most about him."
Dean, you have compared some receivers in the past. Does Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. remind you of anyone? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No. *(laughter) *He is kind of in a class by himself, I think. He is like Randy Moss was in his day. He's just that elite, elite guy. He makes unbelievable catches. He has great body control. He's fast, a good route runner with unbelievable hands. What doesn't he have? To me, he is just an elite, elite receiver."
Is there any concern about OLB Elvis Dumervil? He doesn't seem to have the explosiveness off the edge these past few games. (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think he's just coming back from an injury. You never know, everybody is different. Some guys can come right back right away, some guys can't. There's nobody that knows their body better than the veterans. He knows if he's ready or not ready. We just keep talking about it all the time, along with Mark [Smith] and coach Harbaugh. We'll just see where it goes. On his behalf, the guy has just been a great player. If he's not playing at that [level], to me, it's just because he's not ready yet. He's hurt. No other reason."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "First of all, we are right in the middle of game-planning. The players are working hard. We are all excited to get to New York – kind of the epicenter of the world. We are really excited about this thing. We have a lot of hard work left with our preparation. The hard work – we have to get that part done before we get up there to New York."
You come into this job with a lot of stops behind you and a lot of experience. (Joe Platania)"Are you saying that I'm old? Is that what you are saying? (laughter)
Well, you have worked with a lot of folks in the West Coast game such as [Steve] Mariucci and [Andy] Reid. What have you taken from them? (Joe Platania)"[Mike] Holmgren was the first. I think about the only thing I have ever done is play or coach, except cleaning up a bar at night for a job in college. This is just what we do. There are specific things that we are asking the guys, and they are doing a great job of it. The players are working hard, and you have to finish that part of it."
What are the changes? How many adjustments have you made? (Jerry Coleman)"I probably put a little too much thought into that. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to go about this thing. I think that was a mistake early in the week, because the players have been fantastic both mentally and physically up to date."
What is your approach in terms of attacking a defense? Fans have talked about taking more shots down the field. Can you describe your approach that way in the passing game? (Ryan Mink)"I would love to talk, but that would be days. You have to know your strengths and know the opponent's strengths and try to take care of that just a little bit. You have to know the opponent's weakness and take care of that just a little bit. You have to try to keep your opponent off balance. It is really simple. We ask a lot of the players, so that is why that preparation is key."
How did you receive the news [of the Ravens making a change at offensive coordinator]? (Brett Hollander)"We are going forward. I have not even had time to think. I couldn't even answer that very well, because it has been 'katy bar the door.' Let's move forward. I think everyone has done a pretty good job of that – the coaches, the players. Let's go. The only thing I can say about that is: We are in a business much like others, where great things happen. Fantastic things happen. Every now and then, something happens to a good person and a good coach. It happens. Let's move forward. Everything is about the Giants."
John talked about how you will put your imprint on this offense. How do you think your fingerprints will be shown? (Jamison Hensley)"We will see. You ask a good question. I have spent a lot of time – probably too much time – trying to decide how much of what we have and how do we get to a certain place and how much new … All of those things … I didn't answer your question very well, because I am right in the middle of all of that."
People who have known you for a long time say that you have never failed to project confidence whether it was as a high school quarterback or a young assistant or with the Detroit Lions. When you look back on your life, where do you think that confidence comes from? (Childs Walker)"You are going way too deep. (laughter) Wow. I will say this, all of that stuff … Players are working hard; coaches are working hard. We have to get it done now. We have to get it done. It is just that simple. I will give you one little thought process that I have gone by ever since I have been playing or coaching: It is day to day. You have to prove yourself every day as a player and a coach. You have to have that mentality."
How do you view this running game right now? The last couple weeks the yards per carry are up, but the volume is not necessarily there. What is your assessment? (Luke Jones)"I told the players that we have the running game going just a little bit, and now we have to continue that thing. It is just that simple."
Is your expectation that despite a mid-week change and a midseason change that this offense can get humming pretty quickly, even by Sunday? (Ryan Mink)"I'm telling you now that our expectations are high, period. We will see what happens. We are going to go through some ups and downs; there is no question about that. It is pretty easy when you are going through the ups. When you are going through the downs, you have to tighten that thing up, and let's roll. [You have to] make it through, power through those types of things. We will see. But our expectations are high."
What is your relationship like with QB Joe Flacco over the last couple of years? (Brett Hollander) "Joe is a top player. He has so many strengths. He has very few weaknesses. He is smart, and I kind of like him a little bit. (laughter) You guys probably don't see it, but he has quite a personality. He is a funny guy. You guys probably don't see it. Or do you? I have enjoyed it. I hope he has. But look, this is about business. We have to get this thing done."
How is your relationship with John Harbaugh? You guys go way back, and he obviously had confidence in you. (Jerry Coleman) "When we were coaching … We coached in Philadelphia for quite a little while. Jack [Harbaugh] and John and Jim [Harbaugh] – that is quite a coaching family. Yes, we go back."
How challenging is it this week with not just the transition, but not knowing how the offensive line is going to be? (Luke Jones)"We will see. That is part of what we do. The guys we have playing … We won't know [who is playing] possibly for a little while. But the guys we have playing will have a good job."
Do you still have your Bill Walsh folder close in hand? (Childs Walker) "I still have it. I have a lot of stuff. The older I got … My wife does not like it all. She gave me one little corner to put everything, and it is just a mess. But I still have it."
Does she still let you ride the motorcycle? (Childs Walker)"No. The motorcycle – it is not here. I got a little old for that. I'm done talking about that. I like to go fast, and that is not good." (laughter)
How often do you refer to the Bill Walsh folder? (Jamison Hensley)"Every now and then. It is a nice little keepsake."
About making the adjustment, we would see you up in the media room sometimes in the coaches booth. John Harbaugh tells us you will now be down on the sideline. Does that feel more like home for you? (Jerry Coleman) "That choice, I probably put too much thought into that as well. There are pluses and minuses being up or down. I thought about that. I had been down for so long. I have done it both ways, but I have been down for so long. Some of the pluses to being down is you have eyeball-to-eyeball [interaction]. Players and coaches, you can make adjustments a little quicker. The coaches upstairs … We have some really good coaches that have done an outstanding job upstairs. You rely on them a little bit. On the field, you sort of feel some things, where upstairs, you see it, like watching film. There are pluses and minuses to both ways."