Following a tumultuous season, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was able to vent some of his frustration on air in a WFAN Radio interview with Mike Francesa. In the interview, Coughlin discusses a wide array of topics ranging from whether or not Kevin Gilbride’s departure was actually a personal decision, to why exactly was the offense “broken” and what needs to be done in order for the Giants to be contenders once again.
Coughlin’s remarks seem to be sending mixed signals as he initially mentions a disconnect within the offense where “an element of trust of was lost.” The comments were initially in reference to the struggles of Eli Manning and his receivers, primarily Hakeem Nicks.
“You lost an element of trust in a couple of ways. When an individual turns a ball down, when a recognized route adjustment is not followed, and the quarterback throws an interception,” Coughlin explained.
The initial portion of Coughlin’s jab may have been directed towards Nicks, whose effort has been questioned this past year, while the latter may have been swung in the direction of Rueben Randle, whose shady route running has yielded his fair share of interceptions. Though some have also argued the disconnect or mistrust that plagued the Giants' wide receivers was a result of a desperate Eli Manning forcing throws into dangerous areas where his receivers could get severely injured in games that are almost meaningless considering the Giants’ overall ineptitude this year on the offensive side of the ball. Whatever the case may be, Coughlin expects tremendous change in 2014 and Hakeem Nicks may or may not be with the Giants to experience it.
Coughlin would later address Nicks specifically when he discussed Nicks’ struggles this past year.
"Well, it just didn’t happen for him. We all scratch our heads over that one because when Hakeem came back he wanted it more than we will ever know. He had certain things happen year to him,” Coughlin said. “A couple of times the ball would be there and he just didn’t go for the ball and a couple other time he just wasn’t able to get himself open on a continuous basis. It just wasn’t a very productive year, as much as we would like to think. A couple years ago there wasn’t a more productive receiver than Hakeem. Hopefully for his benefit and his family, he comes back and has a great year."
An overly obsessive observer could surmise that Coughlin is sending mixed signals, but more likely than not, Coughlin is simply being honest. He was not happy with Nicks’ performance this past year and is potentially even disappointed considering the praise he gives the Hakeem Nicks of old. There’s no guarantee Coughlin is willing to forgive Nicks’ occasional effortless outings, but if Nicks can be the same All-Pro receiver he was and the Giants can get him at a reasonable price, Coughlin may be open to a reunion. Only time will tell.
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