The Washington Redskins (3-10) on Sunday travel to take on the New York Giants (4-9) in Week 15 action at MetLife Stadium.
This week, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning spoke to the Washington, D.C., media via conference call about the upcoming matchup with the Redskins.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin: On preparing for a team that has not named a starting quarterback:
"Well, obviously you have to broaden your spectrum because you're not sure what's going to happen. But, I did see [Colt] McCoy practiced. He said yesterday or the day before that if there wasn't anything seriously wrong and he felt better, he thought he would play. I guess you just look at the limited participation list and try to take a lot of things into consideration."
On how important divisional games are:**
"Well, they're very, very important. Obviously, to me, they're worth two of any other game because of the nature of the way we get into the playoffs. So, I put a lot of stock in that. You also realize people know each other very, very well. Some of the best games are within the division because of that very nature. So, I do put a lot of stock in it and it's important."
On how the Redskins and Giants can reduce turnovers on offense:
"Obviously whatever I'm doing isn't working very well either and you've pointed that out. So, that's the stat that we preach more than any. We run our series of drills that are 'core drills' – what I call them. One of them totally devoted to ball security and taking the ball away, that type of thing. It's a very difficult thing. We've been a team here that's set the record – for one or two years anyway – for the fewest turnovers. Then, we turn around the last couple years, and we've had a lot of them. It's just indicative I think of your record. Our record is not very good and our turnovers are high."
On how long it takes for new quarterbacks to acclimate to a system:
"We really have had the same system forever. It just changed last year. So, I think right from the very get-go, the learning experience for Eli [Manning] and for Ryan Nassib was outstanding. But, going through a year of checks and audibles and being able to understand to nuances of the entire offense, and what applies to the things you're seeing on defense, I think it takes a while. I really do. I think as far as understanding it and what you want to accomplish is one thing. It's making sure that you can apply it to the field that takes time."
On how to keep a team that is eliminated from playoff contention motivated:
"Thank goodness we've been able to maintain a level of good, hard work and good practices really throughout this span. We've done that. It kind of makes you scratch your head, but our practices have been good. Our meetings and preparations have been pretty good I'd say. That's the key. You certainly would like to think everything is very, very important when you are in the hunt. It is. By the same token, it is regardless. I mean, each game is so critically important to you – future of many players, future of coaches, the whole deal. It's really important, so I think whether it's a matter of pride or what it is, you have a responsibility to be the very best you can be regardless of your record. The fact that you are responsible for your record only enhances that in my opinion."
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning:
On facing the Washington Redskins again after winning the teams' first meeting in Week 4:
"We are expecting to get their best. We probably had our best game of the season and a lot of things clicking for us, so we expect them to be fired up and to definitely want a little redemption. So we will expect their best effort. They probably will have some new wrinkles in their defense and we will be ready for that, so we will just try to go out there and get the win and play hard and figure out a way to put some points on the board."
On the challenge of learning a new system and new concepts:**
"You know, it is a challenge and some of the stuff might be similar concepts, some of it might be very different, so just understanding what the reads are, also just understanding – sometimes you've just got to run plays a number of times before you have a great feel for it. And until you have run it versus every single blitz and every single coverage, everything that could possibly happen, you might not be as comfortable in it as you can be. Something new might always come up – you haven't seen it versus this coverage – and it'll throw you off. It is challenging and it has its moments, but it takes a lot of time and effort to put in to get comfortable with it."
On what he has done to get more acclimated in the system:
"Just in preparation, you know, try to get through the game plan as soon as possible, drawing up the plays where I can kind of think through it, can go through my mind based off kind of what the defense is doing – the team we are playing, what my checks might be, what my looks, what my progressions are going to be, asking questions about certain plays, talking to the coach, telling what my favorite plays are and which ones I'm not as comfortable with. Trying to get all on the same page, ask lots of questions to make sure I'm seeing things the way the coach is seeing things, making sure we kind of understand why this play is in or what the look is, and so everybody is on the same page. I think communication is very important for that."
On transitioning offensive coordinators early in his career:
"That was a fairly easy transition just because it was really the same offense. We didn't change the terminology, we kept a lot of the same plays – maybe kind of put an emphasis on some other plays, some newer plays that he liked – so that was a pretty smooth transition because you weren't changing a whole lot."
On if the importance of division games is overstressed:
"No, I think the division games are always important just because it's just rivals and teams you face twice a year every year, and so you just always get up for them and just kind of having that bragging rights or whatever it might be. So there's just a different feel to them. And so even this year with us and Washington not having the season we wanted to have, it's still a big game and I know both teams are going to play hard."
On if he feels that division games are indicative of how an entire season will go:
"I think you always kind of assume that going in and stress the importance of it, but obviously you have 10 other games also that are just as important. So I don't think… Usually the way it works is towards the end of the season you have a divisional game that can be the difference in whether you make the playoffs or who makes the playoffs, so in that case they are extremely important, so I think that's what it comes down to a lot of seasons."
On the key to not doubting himself in tough situations and putting on a confident front for his teammates:
"You've got to make sure it's not a front. You've got to make sure you're doing everything from your preparation standpoint that you're prepared and so therefore that will lead to confidence. Even if you play poorly the week before or you know you're still going to bust your tail and get in there and work hard at practice and make plays at practice and communicate with your teammates on what you're going to do this week and how we are going to be better and what we are going to accomplish. I think talking about what you are going to do and having new signals and keeping it fun for them and being energetic is very important."
On if there is anything mentally that he has to do to get his mind right in those situations:
"Normally, I think – you think through the plays and you think positive and you imagine everything going well the next week and you imagine how the plays are going to work out. I think just having a great game plan going into it is all you can do prior to and then you go out there and you make plays. And, hey, you might make some bad ones and that's alright. You put those behind you and you just try to make a good decision and a good play the next time."