New York coach Kevin Gilbride expressed his satisfaction as the Guardians held off the Los Angeles Wildcats 17-14, at MetLife Stadium. Kicker Matthew McCrane kicked three field goals, including the game-winner from 47 yards in the fourth quarter as New York evened their record at 2-2.
Guardians head coach talks about variety of issues after knocking off Wildcats
Gilbride began his post-game press conference by saying "we're obviously excited about the win. We're very pleased with the effort that our players put forth. I they continued to fight and play hard, which we needed to do if we're gonna get a W against a very good football team."
The New York head man complimented Los Angeles quarterback Josh Johnson, who threw for 300 yards and a touchdown. "Josh Johnson's a heck of a quarterback", Gilbride said. "He made some spectacular plays, so we were very fortunate to hang in there and win, but that was the thing that I thought we could do if we just don't self-destruct."
He continued by saying "we had that one moment where there was a frustrated young man with a holding call, and we just can't have that. But other than that, I thought the guys showed the kind of discipline that you need to show, and good football teams have. It was a small step but it was at least a step in the right direction, so we're pleased with that."
In wanting to get tight ends more involved, he said "it's a combination (of the gameplan and the flow of the game. You always want to take advantage of what opportunities or matchups you think are in your favor. We think Jake Powell gives us a distinct advantage against most people, but some people do things schematically that don't allow us to get the ball to him."
He also stated that the defense and running game both "did very well. I think our defense, with the probable exception of the D.C. game, has played very well for us and it's just a matter of us playing complimentary football and when can run the ball the way we did today, I think it allows us to play the football that gives us the best chance to win."
Talking about quarterback Luis Perez, who threw for 150 yards and a touchdown, Gilbride stated "I thought Luis showed the kind of poise and composure and understanding of what we're trying to do that you like to see from that position. I was very pleased with his effort. He'd be the first one to tell you that there were some chances that he didn't quite see and he didn't quite get the ball where he needed to get it to.
"The bottom line is you keep playing, and when you miss a throw or you miss an opening that was available to you, it doesn't destroy you and prevent you from coming back the next play. You continue to play, play in and play out, and he does that very well. Of course, that's just his makeup. It was good - I think he was a significant catalyst to us playing as well as we did."
He also highlighted the qualities the Guardians' signal-caller brings to the club: "he's like most quarterbacks that are the right makeup - the competitive kind of guys that like to be pushed, they like to be coached, they like to be taught as to what you're trying to achieve. He certainly is a guy that enjoys being a student of the game, a guy that likes to come in and watch the film.
"He lives with his family still out in California, his wife just had a baby. So he's got a lot of time on his hands. So when we finished the day at about 5:00, it's a long day. A lot of guys aren't looking to come back in, you know. They've been here since 8:00 this morning, but he's there every night. He's got that kind of drive to absorb as much information and as much knowledge as he can.
"He's done a terrific job in a short period of time. He's the makeup you're looking for, no question about it."
Gilbride closed his press conference by stating what he said to the team following back-to-back losses as they prepared for this game: "I was a little bit forceful last week after that game because I thought it was a game we could have won and probably should have won had we not self-destructed. We had some guys get frustrated by some of the things that were going on.
"We felt some things should have been called by the officials and i told them it's not their place to think they're the ones making those decisions. The officials have to call the game and you have to respond to the way the game's being called. For us to have as many self-inflicted wounds as we had was really, really disturbing.
"I just talked about what we needed to do in order to win and certainly self-control, discipline, composure, poise were gonna be essential factors or qualities if we're gonna win the game and you have to play within the parameters of the rules. That's just the way it is and our guys responded very maturely, very positively, very professionally which is what gave us the chance.
"When it comes down to will and character, i'm always confident in our guys. The other things, we needed to rein in and to their credit, they did."