In this week's edition, the head coach discusses Thanksgiving memories, his new facial hair and the keys to the team's five-game winning streak, among other topics.
The Festival Foods Facebook question of the week is from Carol from Green Bay. What is your all-time favorite Thanksgiving memory?
I have great memories of Thanksgiving as a kid. My mom would start cooking the Thanksgiving meal the night before, and she still does today. It’s always been a day about family. We’d all watch football and then have a great dinner together. It’s an important day to be with family and close friends. This year, our team will work in the morning and then have the rest of the day to spend time with family.
Nate from Wilmington, NC
Do you feel injuries have helped our newer players get the reps they need to build a stronger depth chart?
Injuries create opportunities. That’s one thing that’s a constant in the NFL. We went into the season with the approach of playing as many people as we possibly could. Our intention is to make sure we’re playing our best football late in the season. That mindset and plan, combined with the injuries, has given our younger players more opportunities in practice and it’s carrying over to the games.
Dan from Baton Rouge, LA
OK, coach, have to ask: What's up with the mustache?
The mustache is for prostate cancer awareness for the month of November. A number of our players are participating and I’ve joined in this year. It has reminded me why I don’t normally have a mustache. I had one in my younger days, back in the ’80s, but this is for a good cause. My wife is looking forward to me shaving daily again.
Q. What have the young defensive backs added to your defense?
Playmakers. Our young defensive backs are all talented men that are getting better each week and playing with more confidence. They’re really a microcosm of our whole football team. Our goal was to be more athletic this season and the young DBs epitomize that. Their ability, talent and enthusiasm have brought a lot to our defense. It’s been fun to watch, and I’m excited to see them play each week.
Q. What did you like the most from what you saw in your defense’s overall play on Sunday?
Consistency. I thought they flew around at a very consistent level. It started with our defense forcing three-and-outs on Detroit’s first two drives. We gave up the long pass on the third drive, but they battled the whole game at a very high level. We put a lot of focus during our Detroit preparation on the Lions’ ability to score in the fourth quarter. Our defense responded by playing its best football in the final quarter.
Q. At the Thanksgiving point in the season, what are your thoughts on the growth of the team since its 2-3 start?
Our record answers that question. We’ve won five in a row, and you do that by growing and overcoming the adversity that every team goes through. There is growth throughout our team, and we’re excited because we know we can play better. The character and the energy of the team are very high and I’m excited about what’s in front of us. We’re facing a huge challenge against the Giants in New York on Sunday Night Football. This is another big-time, prime-time game for us to take another step and get to 8-3.
Q. Has there been a constant in this five-game winning streak?
Our turnover ratio is starting to look the way it’s supposed to look. We’re at plus-seven, and at a minimum we’ve always considered ourselves a team that should be in double digits on the plus side. We’ve been in the plus-20s before. We’re starting to make that climb, and that’s reflective of our team identity. It’s what we practice and how we train. The turnover ratio is the most consistent statistical characteristic in our last five wins.
Q. Do you buy into the “just win, baby” philosophy?
I understand where the quote comes from and I have great respect for what Al Davis has done for the game of football and for his place in NFL history. It is all about winning. I don’t know about the “baby” part. My comments are usually a little shorter with a little less flair, but I’m pretty much of the same philosophy. I’ll say “just win.”
Q. What does this week’s game against the Giants mean to you?
The Giants are a very good football team. It’s a team I’ve always respected, especially for the way they’re coached. Tom Coughlin is an outstanding football coach and we know we’re playing a team that will have a good plan. They’re going to play hard with good fundamentals, and they’re not going to beat themselves. It’s important for us to be prepared to go to New York to beat the Giants. That’s our focus. We clearly understand what’s happened in the past. We’ve won the regular-season games and they’ve won the postseason games. Those are the facts. We’ll look at the last playoff game as part of our preparation, but it’s just one game. Regardless of the hype and the questions that we’ll have to answer throughout the week, this game is about getting to 8-3 and getting back home for our next two division games. It’s an important NFC game and there will be a ton of energy. These are the kind of games we love to play in.
To see previous editions of "Tuesdays with McCarthy," click here.