Q: What did you see from Steven Jackson on Sunday in short-yardage situations and screen passing situations like the one he took for 20 yards? He’s had a lot of success catching the ball in the past.
BB: I thought he ran hard in those tough yardage situations there, short yardage and down around the goal line. [He] didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the passing game, but as you said, made a good catch and run on the screen – good things to build on. We’ll see how it all is going forward. As you’ve mentioned, and I agree, Steven’s had a lot of production in the passing game over the course of his career. He’s got good hands – soft hands for a big man – so we’ll see how all that plays out, but I think he can help us on all three downs. How much that is and how long that is, that’s part of something we’re working through as well.
Q: What have you observed from Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan in terms of the way they grew together as their roles expanded?
BB: I think those are two players who both had good years. We have a lot of confidence in them. There were good opportunities for both players based on the transition that we made at that position in the offseason with [Alfonzo] Dennard, [Kyle] Arrington, [Brandon] Browner, [Darrelle] Revis – that whole group. They really took advantage of those opportunities and worked hard, continued to develop and refine their techniques and craft and have given us really solid play throughout the year. They’re both still young players who have a lot of things they can work on and improve on, but they definitely have helped us a lot, have been very consistent, dependable, been healthy all year, which has been huge, but they’ve done a good job for us.
Q: Do you take it as a compliment when other teams are interested in your assistant coaches? What are your thoughts on Tom Coughlin steeping down with the Giants?
BB: Tom’s had a great career as a head coach and as an assistant coach – BC [Boston College], Jacksonville, New York. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Tom and his family, the way he approaches his job and the way he coaches. We had a great relationship at the Giants when we were on the same staff and have had good relationships throughout our respective careers. A lot for him to be proud of and unfortunately a couple of his biggest wins came at our expense. He deserves a lot of credit for all that he’s accomplished in his career. The rest of it, I think I’ll leave any comments about any coaching, on any other positions or with any other teams or anything related to that subject is really about the other teams and what they’re doing. We have an important game to get ready for here in a week and a half, and that’s what we’re going to do, so whatever anybody else is doing, we’ll abide by the rules that the league has set up for those situations, and those things are really out of our control.
Q: When a coordinator is interviewing elsewhere during a bye week, does it distract you from getting ready for a playoff game?
BB: Well I mean look, there are things that go on throughout the course of the year that you periodically have to deal with one way or another – this is one of them. It’s certainly not unprecedented – there are a lot of other teams in the league that are going through the same thing, we’ve gone through it before, so we’ll just take it as it comes. We know what our goals are and what our focus is, and we’ll take these other things as they come through. Like I said, I don’t think it’s anything that’s that unprecedented.
Q: Historically your teams have been red-hot going into the postseason, but that hasn’t been the case this year. Do you put any stock into late-season momentum heading into the postseason?
BB: No, I don’t really care about any other season or any other game – just the one that’s coming up. That’s the only one we’re focused on. I don’t really care about what happened. It’s pretty irrelevant to me.
Q: Where do you think Jimmy Garoppolo has made the biggest strides this year compared to his first season?
BB: Everywhere. I think Jimmy has made great strides for us this season. The reps that he’s gotten on the field in preseason games and in practice, I think he’s shown a lot of development – better understanding, quicker recognition and reading of the defenses, more awareness of what’s happening on the defensive side of the ball, better communication, better understanding of the offense, better understanding of the defense – really everything. I think we see it on a daily basis from Jimmy. He’s a hard working kid who’s always prepared. It’s a tough position to be in when you don’t know if you’re going to play or not, but he prepares hard to play, we push him hard to be ready to play, and he’s made a lot of progress this year. As a football player I think everybody has a lot of confidence in him based on the opportunities that he’s had to show what he can do and how he’s working.
Q: How has the team benefitted from the work of Bob Quinn? How has he contributed to your staff?
BB: Yeah, Bob has done a good job, been with us for a long time and has had a number of different responsibilities in the scouting department – pro, college, advance, different projects and all that. He’s done a real solid job.
Q: What have you seen from Brandon King this year? How has he progressed off the field in terms of the defense?
BB: I think the roles that he would play for us on defense, as you mentioned really hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to do those in game situations, kind of similar to Jimmy at quarterback, but I think he’s made a lot of progress there. But in the kicking game, he’s been a real solid contributor for us. He has a good skillset, works very hard at the games, has improved tremendously over the course of the season. He’s learned from our veteran players and done a great job of allowing them to mentor him, and he’s done an excellent job of absorbing the information and coaching points that he’s gotten from many of them. He has the size to play some of the bigger positions and he has the speed to play some of the smaller positions – safety, corner, receiver-type spots – and he’s been big enough to be able to match up size-wise to the running backs, linebackers, tight ends, positions like that. He has a lot of versatility. He’s an excellent matchup player in the kicking game and he’s been productive for us all year both in the coverage phase and the return phase of the game. He’s been a real good addition to our unit. Coach [Joe] Judge and Coach [Ray] Ventrone have spent a lot of time developing him and he’s come a long way this season and really done a good job for us. I’m glad we have him. He’s been a huge addition to our team.