Opening remarks: As always, difficult to see the season come to an end, especially on a game such as today. We practiced well; we focused well; our energy was all for one, one for all; we felt like we had a great opportunity to come in here and win today. We did some things very well, to be honest with you, but certainly not enough. I think once again the inability to score touchdowns in the green zone was quite evident. We were there enough times to get it done. Both teams were going back and forth in the field goal area, but, quite frankly, we needed to score touchdowns to be able to separate ourselves and that just didn't happen. I told the players I am very proud of them individually and collectively. They have been an outstanding group of young men to coach. We have had good, solid leadership, we accomplished a lot during the regular season, but of course that doesn't carry a whole lot of weight into the postseason. I honestly thought that this year we would be the, last year the road warriors, this year the warriors at home and it just didn't come to pass. Disappointing finish to our season, not a whole lot to say other than that.
Can you talk about the fourth down plays and not getting them? I am going to take the second one. That was me. It came down as fourth-and-one, it actually was fourth-and-two, I should have taken the timeout, but we do have a lot of confidence in our running game, no doubt. I think, quite frankly, we were all shocked by the spot of the ball on the fourth-and-inch one. Couldn't imagine that the spot was right. Obviously I challenged. The challenge came back that they did not change the play. We had the play we wanted, the sneak, but they did a good job of loading up. Let's face it. From my angle I couldn't tell. We did tell Eli he might have to go out in the B gap rather than the A gap because you know they would be in the A gap. As I said, those were opportunities again and the score was the score. We may have had a chance to keep the ball and go down, but the second one I am taking. That was me.
Any thought to using Lawrence Tynes on the second field goal after John Carney missed the first one? No. I thought Lawrence did a nice job with his kickoffs today. He gave us really good hang time even into the wind. John has done an outstanding job all year long and he has been there for us in the clutch. His percentage, as you know, other than the two blocks, was 100 percent all the way up to Minnesota. There was no second guessing there.
Eli seemed to not be able to string plays together and having trouble with his consistency? I can't really… All I can tell you is this, no one guy, no one person, lost that game out there today and no one person does. As I tell the players, the losses are mine, they are my responsibility. The wins are the players', the coaches' and the players'. We were not effective enough with our pass opportunities. That, coupled with the runs, we thought we would be able to take advantage of some things. Our third downs were not good. We've had a pretty good season in that regard, but today was not very good. I thought our running game would give us some shorter distances to accomplish on third down, which I think for the majority of it it was and there may have been some long, but we weren't effective in the pass game and we weren't effective on third down.
Did you consider at all deferring and taking the wind after you won the toss? I always consider it when we think the wind is an issue. Obviously we took the kickoff back to the 35-yard line. The wind was a factor on the first long pass, but it wasn't the reason we didn't score the touchdown. We had the ball on the 35-yard line. It is always a consideration.
How much of a factor was the wind on Eli's first interception? I don't know that… I'm sure it was a factor, let's face it, it was into the wind, but there were different times during the game when the wind really was no factor. I thought probably from the middle of the second quarter right through the second half there really wasn't a whole lot of wind down on the field. I just think he thought he saw what he saw, Samuel came off of a coverage and appeared in the area that he didn't expect him to be in. We felt, as I always do, as I check with both kickers, I check with the quarterback, we did not think that the wind was that big of a factor at the beginning of the game.
You seemed to use Derrick Ward earlier than you had in the running game. Is that at all because Jacobs was limited? Derrick Ward has been a very, very solid contributor and we have used both guys even when they both have been healthy. I think it was just a matter of utilizing both people.
Early in the fourth quarter, down two scores, you stuck with the running game. What was the thinking there? As soon as we got ourselves out in legitimate field position, we were going to go no-huddle. Usually the gauge is eight minutes or right in there for the no-huddle when you are down two scores. We moved it off of our end, but of course we weren't able to stay in it.
Do you think Eli not playing as well today and later in the season had a lot to do with Plaxico Burress not being out there? I don't think it has a whole lot to do with that. Those are the questions that have been asked since day one. The fact of the matter is Plaxico is not out there.
Every move you made in the playoffs last year seemed to work. Was it frustrating today that a lot of stuff that you were trying to do was not working? Well, would you not have gone for it on fourth and an inch? Would you not have gone for it on fourth and two with the game where it was? Would you not have kicked a field goal? The legitimate, logical calls were made. Were they successful or not? You have to take it case by case. I don't think those issues were… When we were down in the fringe of the green or in the green you have to score touchdowns. That is what our game is about. If you are going to separate you have to have touchdowns and we didn't do that today.
If you had called a timeout before the fourth-and-two you would have put a different play call in there? Possibly. Now to go back and answer… let me just clarify. The whole deal there was we have been strong in the running game. Would I have changed the play? In all likelihood if I would have used a time out, but obviously I decided to let the play go on the fourth-and-two.
They had the third-and-20 and they got the first down? That is a huge play. That is a huge play. The quarterback was in trouble, he was able to avoid and get out of trouble, he was able to find a receiver who, to his credit, just barely made the first down, but he made the first down.
Do you feel your team lost some momentum because of the bye week? I don't think so. I think that when you look at the teams that are winning obviously are the teams that are still playing. You do also have that argument. You also have the argument that does home field make any difference, which it didn't for us a year ago, but this is a new year. I thought our team, in order to get to the point where we felt good about our players from a physical standpoint alone, to be able to have some time for them to rest and some time for them all to practice together, that it was good that we had that opportunity.
In three games against the Eagles this year you did not get any sacks? We were there a few times today. I don't know what the numbers were, but certainly you would have to say the safety was one opportunity where we were there. We did get some hits on him. He is very good at getting rid of the ball. You do like to feel like you can have some opportunity to change the way the flow of the game is with the pass rush and sometimes just throwing the ball away, which we did. Prior to at least one of the field goals he released the ball quickly and really there was no receiver in the area on a second and the consecutive third down call. We did have some effect on him, but I understand where you are coming from and certainly you would like to think so, but you have to understand also that coming into this third game we did not have a sack on their quarterback, but they only had one on our quarterback as well.
You didn't feel like the wind was as severe at the end of the field on the Asante Samuel interception that the more prudent thing would have been to run the ball? No. From basically our goal line to our 25-yard line there really is no factor as far as wind is involved. I don't think that ball had anything to do with it. I just think it was a throw in which we didn't really see the corner.
Was your team in a state of shock in the locker room afterwards? I don't think shock is the right word, no. I think we are very disappointed. Very, very sorry to see the season come to an end. Lots of remorse for opportunities lost, which I am sure we will share tomorrow as well. I think at the point in time at the first gathering in the locker room the important thing is for the players to understand that they did do an awful lot of very good things this year. I was very proud of them, but if you are going to start analyzing the game, the game was disappointing and I am sure that there will be some more thoughts on that.