Coughlin’s opening statement:
Looking at the tape today, it’s obvious that a lot of good or decent things happened. I mean, you should win when the opponent scores 17 points. We didn’t score enough points. We had plenty of opportunities to do that. We did have 60 percent on third down, 390 yards and 117 yards rushing. No turnovers, a net punt of 42.3, 33:13 for time of possession. Some of the things that we started out to do in the game, we did. However, picking up on that, the second half was like watching something totally different.
We had 31 of our rushing yards and only 94, if my math is even close on our passing yards, came in the second half. You just can’t have that, and then the penalty thing. I mean, we had a 1st and 10 at the 23 with a false start, a 1st and 10 at the 30 with an intentional grounding, a 3rd and 10 at the 43 with a completion at the end of the game with a holding penalty, which made it 3rd and 20. Not many 3rd and 20s that you’re going to get. The one that I keep going back to over and over, and there was no penalty here, but 1st and 10 at the 17-yard line. Plus-17, two incompletions that could’ve been caught and a run of minus one-yard and we end up kicking a field goal. We did miss a field goal in the course of the game. We did not stop them in the 3:51 four minute period that we talk about and work on. We had nine penalties in the game. Nine penalties in the game, which made the game appear as if we were sloppy and careless.
Kickoff return and punt return with the special teams’ penalties and six offensive penalties. Two false starts, an intentional grounding, the delay and two offensive holdings, none of which ever come at the right time. Statistically, we do a lot of work on drives with penalties within drives and percentage that scores occur, it’s a very difficult thing to overcome a ten-yard penalty, as you can imagine. We did have an opportunity, the only turnover in the game, we got the ball and stopped them from being in a scoring situation, as you saw it. They did score on a fumble recovery, which was run in the end zone. I don’t know, even when I look at it, if he was trying to pitch the ball as he was going down. If he was, obviously, I would rule it a little bit differently.
Nevertheless, there were multiple, multiple opportunities for us to sustain. The way we played in the first half, we had 40 plays to their 20. We had over 20 minutes in time of possession. It was exactly the way that we planned to play, but you’re going to have to take the penalties out of there, you’re going to have to score in the green zone to complete what the intent was and we didn’t do that. So, we come away from a game that we felt we orchestrated the thing in the right direction for a great deal of the game, but we did not win the game.
We didn’t get the ball back when we had to get it back, we didn’t score when we had the ball in that position and the penalties are a natural thing, which, as a coach, just flat-out eats away at your gut. How in the world can a team with something this important be as careless as we were? Those are the things that still eat away at me today. The day after a game of that nature and I am one that goes toward the reasons for the... I try to balance it out, the good and the bad, but unfortunately when you lose, the bad kind of eats away at you and draws your attention to it. That’s why I mentioned some of the things that I did.
Q: It looked like Sean Locklear had a pretty serious injury. Do you guys have any update on that?
A: He did have a serious injury. I’m not going to go into the details, but it will require surgery.
Q: You guys had the big offensive explosion against the Packers, with 38 points. This week, you didn’t score enough points to overcome the 17 points by the opponent. Were there things in the red zone that you thought you guys had fixed last week that were off this week?
A: Well, it was only two trips down there. There were trips that were close. As I said, the one time that we had the ball at the 17, in that situation, we thought we had the right design, but it didn’t work. So, it’s always a shared deal, it’s coaching, it’s execution. Why didn’t it take place as smooth as it should have been? We’ll go back over that. The fact of the matter is, it didn’t happen.
Q: Did the Redskins make any adjustments at the half to their run game?
A: I don’t know if there was any adjustment. We saw what we saw. They stretch you and then they come with their option game and that’s pretty much what they continued to do throughout. They’re obviously very good at it; they execute well at it. They depend on the yardage to be compiled there and then all of a sudden, it’s a play action pass. I don’t think there was any huge adjustment.
Q: How do you approach the rest of the season? Do you look at the different scenarios with the tie-breakers?
A: I’m just looking at it one game at a time, knowing full-well it’s a four-game season and we have to win, literally, every one of our games. That’s how I look at it. I’m going to be aware of all the things you’re talking about, but that’s not going to enter into my thinking. It’s going to be: win the games that are presented, the one that’s right in front of you is a New Orleans team that has battled and played very well of late. That’s what we’ll focus on.
Q: Did Zak DeOssie have some trouble with a few of the snaps last night?
A: I don’t know that they were as perfect as you want them, but they were handled. I think probably the one that you want to refer to, the ball that missed to the left, it was well inside; Steve (Weatherford) did a nice job getting it down. Whether that…I asked Lawrence (Tynes) because someone asked me about it right after the game and I asked Lawrence about it and he said, “No. The kicker is the reason that that was a miss.” I’ll leave it at that.
Q: You’ve lost two of the last three games with leads in the fourth quarter. Is there a concern with your ability to finish?
A: You just said it. Two of the last three losses. That’s not something that our goal is. We did talk about finishing this game last night. We didn’t win the fourth quarter last night. They had seven, we had none.
Q: Do you see a similarity in the blocking between this team and the old Denver Broncos when Shanahan was there?
A: Oh sure, absolutely. It’s a reach-scheme, a zone-scheme. The zone-scheme, not the option scheme, the zone-scheme.
Q: Do other teams use that?
A: Well, there’s three or four teams in the league that have. Certainly Houston has that because Gary (Kubiak) comes from that background.
Q: What is the lesson that you want the team to take away from this game?
A: We’ve been averaging four penalties a game, and now we jump to nine. The lesson is pay attention, pay specific attention to the way in which games are lost in this league if you’re sloppy with your penalties, if you turn the ball over, you don’t give yourself much of a chance to win. It’s a constant message about stopping the ball and running the ball. Those are factors, of course, in the game. Scoring in the green zone. Stopping the opponent, just one of three in the red zone and we did a nice job of that particularly early, but there’s many lessons that we’ll preach that will carry over, but they’re not unusual. They’re the same lessons we preach all the time. That’s why the penalties, quite frankly, not only were they greatly disappointing, they were so shocking to me because they’re out of character with how we’ve been playing. Number one penalty team in the NFC East is Washington. We played Washington, we’re the least penalized, they’re the most; we have nine, they have four.
Q: Where do you think that comes from?
A: As I just said, probably sloppy, careless play. Everyone knows the rules. Everyone knows what you can and can’t get away with.
Q: Do feel like your players didn’t adjust to the officiating? Were you surprised by some of the calls after you looked back at the tape?
A: I’m not going there. That doesn’t change anything. The calls were made and we’ve got to learn from it and be smarter about it. All you’ve got to do is count up the holding penalties, whether it was special teams or offense, and you realize you’re either very careless with your hands or something is taking place that shouldn’t be.
Q: For the intentional grounding play, was it a miscommunication between Eli and the receiver about where the ball was going?
A: I don’t think there was any misunderstanding.
Q: Do you think the team will respond to the sense of urgency of, as you say, having to win the last four games?
A: I certainly think we will and I hope we will. I don’t know why we wouldn’t.
Q: You said it was six-game season and then a five-game season and now it’s a four-game season.
A: That’s correct.
Q: They probably didn’t respond the way you would hope they would with a chance to nail down the division last night.
A: It would be no nailing down. There are still plenty of games to be played. It certainly would have been a great advantage to win there in terms of the Washington-Giant separation, but that’s not going to eliminate other teams.
Q: When you went in at halftime last night, did you have any sense of what was going to come in the second half?
A: I don’t have any idea where you’re going on that one. We came in at halftime and we had just scored with about 40 seconds and then we had an opportunity to get the ball back on the kickoff return. We were excited about getting the ball right back with a 12-minute rest and to be able to come right back out and keep on playing and, of course, we started the second half with a holding penalty. So that put us back deep. We did make a first down, as I mentioned, but we did ultimately have to punt.
Q: What were your thoughts on Linval Joseph with Montgomery during the pile up on the fumble?
A: What did you see from him? That was an offsetting penalty. I would like for him not to retaliate. Now is that what you want me to say? I would like for him not to retaliate. I certainly would like for us to maintain within and keep our composure. Let the other team make the violation and let us get 15 yards. That’s what we preach. It didn’t happen. I’ll talk to Linval about it. He’ll be very agreeable with me about that moment in time. He reacted spontaneously and it cost him a foul. It cost us 15 yards. Am I happy about it? No.
Q: Will Locklear be placed on injured reserve?
A: I’m sure that will take place at some point in time here this week. Probably sooner than later, but why don’t you just wait until that happens. I’m sure you have an idea that will happen. Look, we feel badly for Sean. Here’s a guy that’s come in here not knowing our system and has played well for us. He’s been there when we needed him. He’s done a heck of a job and we all feel bad about this taking place at that point in time last night and it is a serious injury and we’re very upset about that. I’m trying to be aware of that and we’ll release all that information at the appropriate time.