GIANTS' COUGHLIN HOLDS COURT AT SCENE OF GIANTS' VICTORY
"The NFL Scouting Combine is usually the dreariest of assignments for a coach,
but this year’s gathering feels like a victory lap for Giants coach Tom
Less than three weeks after the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots
here at Lucas Oil Stadium, a beaming Coughlin was still basking in that triumph
as he met with reporters during a break in the combine Friday.
“I feel like I was just here, and I was,” Coughlin said with a big grin. “And
they were great memories, too. It's a great feeling. It's a little bit of a
blur, but it's a magnificent blur.”
Coughlin was in a giving mood, too, revealing that three defensive linemen
(Justin Tuck, Chris Canty and Linval Joseph) had undergone surgery since the
Of the three, Canty’s knee operation was the most surprising. Coughlin
wouldn’t specify the procedure or the injury, although an NFL source described
it as a clean-out that didn’t involve major ligaments and wouldn’t prevent the
defensive tackle from being available for the start of next season.
Tuck had scar tissue removed from his problematic shoulder, according to
Coughlin, and Joseph had bone chips removed from his ankle. Coughlin said there
was no damage to Tuck’s labrum and he "feels better than he did way prior to his
“Hopefully we can get them back fast,” Coughlin said of the three
Coughlin was more cautious about the previously announced knee surgeries
performed on tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, each of whom were
seriously injured in the Super Bowl.
Coughlin said each has a minimum seventh-month recovery ahead of him, meaning
they wouldn’t be available until at least September. As a result, Coughlin
admitted tight end has suddenly become a point of emphasis in the offseason.
“Whether it’s draft or whatever, we’re going to have to have some way of
compensating so that we have enough people in camp to be able to work,” Coughlin
Coughlin also shed some light on the Giants’ other offseason plans, saying
cornerback Terrell Thomas and linebacker Jonathan Goff, each of whom were
injured in the preseason and are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents, are
in the team’s plans.
Two key players still under contract, defensive end Osi Umenyiora and running
back Brandon Jacobs, also will be back if Coughlin has anything to do with
Asked if he expected Umenyiora, who has been unhappy about his contract for
at least two years, to with the Giants in 2012, Coughlin said, “I do.”
The same goes for Jacobs, Coughlin said, despite the veteran running back’s
occasional verbal outbursts and clashes with the coaching staff.
“Brandon's been an outstanding part of our team for any number of years [and]
two Super Bowl teams,” Coughlin said. “And as far as I'm concerned, he's a big
part of [the team's future]."
Admittedly complicating Coughlin’s hopes is the Giants’ shaky salary-cap
situation. The official cap figure has yet to be announced, but it is expected
to be around $122 million per team when the new league year kicks in next month,
a number the Giants are currently exceeding.
That fix could cost them the services of Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham,
who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent with several teams hungry for
Coughlin acknowledged losing Manningham is a possibility, saying he is
confident second-year Jerrel Jernigan could be a capable replacement.
Coughlin, however, isn’t in a mood to lose any more assistant coaches. After
losing quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan to new Buccaneers boss Greg Schiano,
Coughlin denied Schiano permission to interview offensive assistant Kevin
“We’re not training coaches so they can go somewhere else,” Coughlin
As for himself, Coughlin said he has not yet had serious talks with Giants
ownership about the contract extension co-owner John Mara Jr. promised after the
Super Bowl but didn’t appear worried. Coughlin, 65, reiterated he wants to keep
“People thought I was joking when I said [last year] that I wanted to coach
until I was 74,” he said. “I wasn’t.”
NASCAR announced that Umenyiora, Tuck and Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka
will ride in the pace car Sunday during prerace festivities at the Daytona