One day after the Giants suffered arguably their worst loss in the Tom Coughlin era, the head coach held court on a conference call and sounded like a man who is well aware of the catcalls for his dismissal. But he is trying to urge everyone within the facilities to tune it out for the betterment of the team.
“I acceptfull responsibility,and whatever price has to be paid for that, it starts right here with me,” Coughlin said, adding his message was simple to his team on Monday. “I am responsible for everything.This thing is not about me. I’m not interested in discussing my circumstance. I’m worried about my team instead. “My concern with all the young guys in the room is that they don’t worry about me.Don’t worry about me. Worry about you.”
Big Blue should worry about their leader, too, as with each horrible loss during this seven-game stretch, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to justify keeping the long-time coach. Sunday’s slide was an inexcusable loss for the ages, as blowing a 21-point loss is one thing, but doing so to a previously one-win team is an entirely different situation.
The ball hasn’t bounced the Giants’ way this season, and even Coughlin admitted there have been some quirky miscues and errors by his squad. It’s been a surreal season for the Giants (3-9), but the coach insists on not making excuses, as heremains upbeat on the prospect of his team finally having their preparation pay off with a win — hopefully starting Sunday in Tennessee.
“It’s been miserable. What else can I say?” Coughlin said. “Some of the things we’ve seen this year are bizarre.But I’m not going to let it get me down. No, not in the least do I question that [losing his team].”
Quarterback Eli Manning, who had a large part in the second-half collapse, backed up his coach.
“It’s not his fault that I fumbled for a touchdown or [tight end] Larry Donnell fumbled for a touchdown,” Manning noted, adding he can only control what happens on the field, and not with the future of anyone on the team — including his own. “Whatever has to happen after [the season] will happen, and we’ll figure it all out from there.”
The biggest knock on the Giants this season isn’t the mounting injuries, or untimely miscues. But themost damning part for Coughlin’s team is how badly his players were outworked in the second half last week — an indictment on New York considering Jacksonville is far less experienced and not as talented, but played for their head coach, Gus Bradley, as if his job was on the line.
And by all accounts, Bradley isn’t on the hot-seat despite the 2-10 mark, but the Jaguars sure played like they were trying to keep him employed, which makes the Giants’ effort look even worse in comparison.
“We just needto finish. We’re talented enough,” McClain claimed. “This is a talented team. We just have to finish … but that [finishing] hasn’t been so simple.”
The word finish is a Coughlin staple — a one-word slogan that he uses quite often. And while his team is just about finished and basically out of playoff contention, the coach still has confidence that his team still has the desire and professionalism to finish the season the right way — and play for themselves.
“Don’t worry about me.Every man in the room is responsible for their own job. I know the feeling is more frustration than anything else, but we gotta keep on,” said Coughlin. “We know the outside world will have a tendency not to speak very kindly of us … [but] we’re going to work our ever-lovin’ butts off to try to win a game.”
Big Blue notes:
- Defensive linemanRobert Ayers tore his pectoral in the Jacksonville game, effectively ending his season.
- Coughlin didn’t want to delve into the reason why starting wideout Rueben Randle sat out the first quarter (“That’s between Reuben and I”), but it was learned that the receiver was punished due to being late to a meeting on Friday.
- TheJaguars were the first opponent to score touchdowns on two Giants’ fumbles in a game since the Browns on Oct. 25, 1964.
- Right tackleJustin Pugh should be back this week, according to Coughlin.