Tom Coughlin was encouraged by some of the performances he got from certain individuals in Friday's preseason-opening game, but he also sees a lot of things to work on for the defending champs.
Coughlin said the team emerged from the 32-31 loss to Jacksonville without any major injuries, but he also said he had not had his meeting with the medical staff on Saturday before talking to reporters.
Here’s some of the things Coughlin touched on in his conference call:
On the two muffed punts: “I have not been around a team that has given up 10 points by simply muffing a kick and there is no excuse for that.
The one that [Jayron] Hosley had, I think he stepped forward a little too much and the ball came down at a different angle than he anticipated. And JJ [Jerrel Jernigan] didn’t have himself technically in the right position.”
On seeing more improvement from his starting defense and team overall: “We have no illusion of the improvement that needs to be made. And I am talking about from the top of our team to the bottom of our team.
“I was disappointed in the 89-yard drive by the Jacksonville offense, but our defensive players will be the first to come forward and tell you that they are disappointed, as well.
“Offensively, we had a couple of very good drives. We did have a stall out, which ended up with a field goal, but when we see the tape, there is a lot of things to look at that we will learn from.”
On why wide receivers Domenik Hixon (hamstring) and David Douglas (quad) were held out: “I just kept Hixon out of the game. He had a little tightness in the hamstring and I said, 'Let’s watch these other guys play and get him healthy again.' Douglas has been doing well and we were going to use him in a couple of spots and he had some quad soreness that did not improve.”
On the play of Mark Herzlich: “I thought he played well and played a lot, and he had many opportunities and we were encouraged by the way he played. He wasn’t perfect. He did some things that he would like to have back, but he is physical and will go in there and is smart and can get you lined up.
On what he thought about David Wilson’s debut: “He certainly did run the ball well, ran the kickoff return well. He didn’t perform as well as you would have liked in the pass game, he should have gotten out of bounds on one of his plays there toward the end of the game. But he is young and we got to eliminate the mental errors.
“We had some mental errors there, but he certainly did show the speed and the quickness. I think it is a plus, I think he has shown us some things that we can depend on going forward.”
On what he thought about the linebackers’ performance: “We got a lot of young guys that played a lot. [Keith] Rivers showed us his quickness, ability, his athleticism, ability to be physical. We liked that part of it. Herzlich, we liked what he did. Mathias [Kiwanuka] made a couple of plays. Chase [Blackburn] got out of the game relatively early.
“We did benefit in a way from so many of these people having to play more snaps than they would have liked to have them play. Can it improve? You bet it can.”
On his assessment of the tight ends: “[Martellus] Bennett made a couple of plays, his nice catch on the touchdown was well done. He showed speed down the field. I think he will be a guy that people will have trouble covering.
“Bear Pascoe is a multipurpose guy. He played fullback and played second tight end and point tight end and played on special teams. Bennett played on special teams. The young guy [Adrien] Robinson has a ways to go. And [Larry] Donnell, those two kids are both talented but really haven’t played enough. [Ryan] Purvis got in and played pretty well for 10 plays. There is a glaring need for the younger ones to play.”
Coughlin praised running back D.J. Ware: “He ran hard, ran powerful. He really did make a couple of very nice decisions with the ball; there were a couple that were so-so as well. I think he could have scored without running into trouble by being a little wider on his touchdown run there. He is playing well and playing hard, he is helping on special teams. He has got a very good attitude. I kind of like what I see.”
On what he saw from defensive end Adrian Tracy: “We have so many of these guys, Marvin Austin, Adrian Tracy, they got to play. When Adrian played, you can see the power, the things that he can do well. You can see also that there are things that are happening out there that he is not in as good of control of himself as he would like to be.
“The bull rush, the power rush, he was good at that. The edge, he was good at that. I am encouraged and I look forward to having him gain a little more sophistication in his knowledge of what we would need him to do.”
On what he saw from safety Will Hill: “He was very aggressive, in on a lot of plays, he made plays when he was being used in a blitz, he made plays on special teams, he did some good things from the safety position, he had a couple of spots where he was out of position and gave up some plays.
“The run at the end of the game, which was not only his fault, but a bunch of people were involved in that one. I have to be encouraged by what he did last night and let’s hope that as we go along, [he] plays against people and seeing more opportunities and he continues to grow.”
On Prince Amukamara’s start: “I was disappointed, obviously, that he gave up the play when he was playing outside in man coverage and got beat to the outside. He made an outstanding play when he knocked the ball out and we were able to recover.
“He just got a taste and he will have to play a lot more going along because we have to put him in situations that he hasn’t been in that often. The play in and play out, the ability to decode what other guys are trying to do to have a sense and instinct about what is coming. ... That only comes with more time. He is another one that needs to play.”