GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN TALKS ABOUT HIS CONTRACT, LINGERING SUPER BOWL FEELING
"Tom Coughlin was early to his press conference at the NFL scouting combine this
afternoon, and he took a moment to revel in his return to the scene of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI championship.
“I feel like I was just here,” the coach said with a smile. “I was. And they
were great memories, too.”
Not quite three weeks after the Giants’ victory against the New England
Patriots, Coughlin’s attention has turned to next season, and the elusive task
of repeating. He said he has started to think of his theme for 2012, but “I’m
not sharing it.”
Certainly, there are many topics that command Coughlin’s attention as he
looks forward: Osi Umenyiora and Brandon Jacobs’ futures with the team (he
expects both to be back), the team’s free agents (among them, he’d like to keep
Mario Manningham but adds, “we’re not naïve”) and the health of key players
(he revealed Justin
Tuck, Chris Canty and Linval Joseph had offseason surgery).
There is also the matter of Coughlin’s own extension to coach the Giants
beyond 2012. Owner John Mara said they would meet soon after the Super Bowl to
get that done, but Coughlin said they haven’t yet “talked seriously.”
Coughlin, happily secure in his job status, reminded reporters that during
the season he suggested he would coach into his 70s. Perhaps the extension will
be for 15 years, Coughlin — who is 65 — joked.
Some of the work he must do this offseason is the result of the Giants’
success this past season, namely replacing coaches who were hired away
elsewhere. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan left to become the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers offensive coordinator, and assistant offensive line coach Jack
Bicknell Jr. took a position as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line
The Giants haven’t yet filled either opening. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
asked to interview quality control coach Kevin Gilbride Jr. for their
quarterbacks coach job, the Giants drew the line.
“Our staff had lost two on that side of the ball,” Coughlin said. “We’re not
training coaches so they can go somewhere else to work.”
The challenge of defending a championship is one Coughlin remembers well,
from the Giants’ previous Super Bowl title after the 2007 season. They got off
to a red-hot 11-1 start in 2008, until the season was dashed by Plaxico Burress’
self-shooting and a loss to the Eagles in the playoffs.
“Everybody was questioning ‘when’s the complacency coming?’?” Coughlin
recalled. “When’s all that going to start? We’re working on that. We’ll look at
all that and evaluate it. But each year is a different year, a different team.
We’ll do whatever we have to do to get on the right themes again.”
Coughlin recalls the draft-eligible prospects at the combine four years ago
being eager to talk and learn about the recent Super Bowl championship. He
figured the same would happen this year, adding, “There’s only 15 minutes,
fellas. You can’t ask me too many questions.”
The Giants’ focus is forward, to issues like reinforcing the depleted tight
end position and creatively creating cap space — but it’s a nice treat for this
business trip to be laced with reminders of this past season’s super ending.
“Every street corner,” Coughlin said. “No matter if there’s a gentleman over
at the hotel, or somebody I meet crossing the street, or the gentleman in the
red coats as you walk in the door here – they’ve all been very gracious. It’s a
great feeling. It’s a little bit of a blur, but it’s a magnificent blur.”
Jenny Vrentas: firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/JennyVrentas