NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 31, 2015, 11:59 PM
Despite plenty of questions over his future as Giants coach, Tom Coughlin has been preparing for season finale against Eagles like he has every other game in his career.
Tom Coughlin continued to lead his Giants on New Year’s Eve, sprinting across the field during practice and preparing to face the Eagles across the parking lot Sunday. He answered questions about everything from the health status of his defensive linemen to the performance of his rookie safety. There was one question he did not respond to fully. It regarded whether he wanted to come back as coach.
“Do I want to come back?” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a great question right now.”
Coughlin’s charges are currently 6-9, and his future is uncertain beyond the season finale. He will not partake in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive campaign, and the lone goal against the Eagles will be to level an NFC East rival and send Philadelphia back down the Turnpike with a worse record. He insisted that his focus is trained on the task at hand and not the possibility of the upcoming contest being his final one as a Giant after 12 seasons and two Lombardi Trophies accrued.
“What I want to do is win a game on Sunday, that’s the bottom line for this group right now,” he said. “I always have the competitive spirit.”
If the longtime Giants coach knows his future already, he’s not sharing.
Plenty of intrigue has surrounded Coughlin in recent weeks. He has accepted blame for the position his team is in, but also allowed that injuries piled up to complicate matters. He leaned on the dynamic play of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. on offense, and welcomed his suspended star back to the practice field this week. In what could prove to be one of his last true coaching moments in the NFL, he spoke privately with the wideout upon his return, instructing Beckham on what he must do to move forward. Coughlin did not get into details, but noted that Beckham echoed apologies that he shared with others.
“That’s between he and I, but you can imagine what it is,” Coughlin said. “I think that’s what he expressed to me, even to the extent that we began to talk a little bit more about the future.”
Players continued to express their desire to have Coughlin continue on. Tailback Rashad Jennings broke through in recent weeks after being part of a running back rotation throughout the season. Coughlin commended Jennings for exhausting himself in recent losses, and Jennings shared the impression that Coughlin made early with him and how it remains the same.
“Love him, there’s no doubt,” Jennings said. “The very first thing I noticed from him the very first day I got here, something he said that kind of reiterates who he is, ‘Faces may change but expectations never do.’ I’ve always seen him lead in that way, too.”
Coughlin spoke of turning the other cheek as he readied to enter MetLife Stadium for what could be his last game as coach. He allowed that there was one fan in particular that he would like to address on his way out Sunday evening.
“There’s a guy that lets me know every time I come off the field, and I can’t use the language because there are ladies around right now,” he said. “Yeah, he hasn’t got my name yet. He’s got a lot of those nicknames he calls me.”