Tom Coughlin Must Now Deal With Cowher Chatter

Unfortunately, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has been left with this 'what the heck is going on?' look far too often the past couple of seasons. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The reaction to the New York Giants' stunningly undisciplined performance in Sunday's 29-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans was swift and, in all honesty, hardly unexpected.

Justifiably or not, head coach Tom Coughlin has now been placed in the crosshairs of the media and his job security is an open question. The Bill Cowher to the Giants rumor mill is now cranked up to full volume.

I will give you links to several of the 'Coughlin's job is now in jeopardy' pieces I read this morning, along with snippets of the writer's opinions. After that, some thoughts of my own on all this.

NorthJersey.com: Sullivan: An alarming lack of self control
The concerns Coughlin has after this debacle run deeper than just preaching a message of individual responsibility. Until there is more evidence that his lectures are sinking in, the 1-2 Giants will continue their descent into the NFL’s cellar. And it is simple sports reality that players don’t get fired. Coaches do. Coughlin, with only next year remaining on his post-Super Bowl contract extension, ultimately will be the one to take the fall.

As an idle Bill Cowher sits in a television studio casting an awfully long shadow, Coughlin will lose his team for good if the rumors of his demise take wings and fly.

The only solution is regaining the discipline that is supposed to be Coughlin’s coaching credo.

Coughlin can't cover up Giants' ugly loss - NYPOST.com
Coughlin asked that the burdens of this brutalization be put on his shoulders, and you’d better believe he earned at least one of these game balls from hell because the Giants exhibited the classic two-step of bad coaching: ill-prepared, undisciplined.

It was interesting that in his postgame news conference — held, as the Jets’ are, in the middle of a field-level bar, the legacy of an architect with a fiendish sense of humor — when Coughlin said, "We practiced well all week," there rose from the onlookers a loud, angry boo. That might’ve been the result of the Saints-Falcons overtime, being shown on TV. But it seemed awfully well-timed, too.

Thing is, Coughlin can’t hold on to the ball in the "green zone;" that’s Ahmad Bradshaw’s job. He can’t admit what a junior-high move it is to throw a ball left-handed into the end zone; that’s Manning’s responsibility. And he can’t be inside his players’ helmets when the devil on the right shoulder pad is spearing the angel on the left; that’s on players like Kareem McKenzie, so often praised for "playing the right way."

Bill Cowher May Be Hearing From Giants Soon Following Another Ugly New York Loss - New York Giants - NESN.com
It seems that Bill Cowher's desire to coach again is starting to burn a little bit more as each day passes. And as each days passes -- and as ugly losses pile up -- it looks like the New York Giants may be in the market for Cowher's services.

Fair or unfair, when teams starting playing with lack of discipline and the turnovers and penalties start to pile up, the head coach takes the brunt of the blame.

And while Coughlin is taking his team's early struggles on the chin, it's the looming possibility that Cowher and "The Chin" might return that Coughlin may have to worry about in the near future.

It may seem premature, somewhat cliche and ultimately unfair, but it's time for the Giants to really start thinking about going in a different direction at head coach.

Coughlin did get them to the promised land, and no one will ever be able to take that away. But there isn't much more of a "what have you done for me lately?" profession in sports than NFL head coach.

Personal Foul on the Giants - NYTimes.com
The word "undisciplined" is getting a workout in New York football. But with Rex Ryan’s Jets, it’s almost expected. It’s part of the package.

But to have Tom Coughlin at the controls — and for the Giants be so out of control — is a little jarring.

D'Alessandro: Giants can't afford to shut coach Tom Coughlin out now | NJ.com
Coughlin isn’t getting fired during the season. This organization doesn’t change horses in midstream, no matter how tired they look. They didn’t even do it when Joe Pisarcik fumbled away John McVay’s career.

So this coach and these players are stuck with each other, and some of the smarter guys in the room should learn that even if they tune this guy out, someone must fill the void.

Rolle tried to speak up last week, but was muted. You’ll notice that the three captains didn’t exactly disagree with him, however. They merely suggested that he watch the criticisms. But it’s these new guys, with new voices — Rolle and Keith Bulluck, to name two — that need to speak up, if only because the head coach is no longer being heard.

My thoughts

Undeniably, the Cowher to the Giants train has left the station. Can Coughlin derail it? We have 13 games to find out, and right now I just don't know the answer.

If you have been here at Big Blue View for a while, you know that I have always been a supporter of Coughlin's ability to coach a football. I still am. Regardless of the struggles of last season and the early part of this one, Coughlin is an upper echelon coach and there are plenty of teams who would love to have him if the Giants kick him to the curb at the end of the season.

He knows what he's doing, he knows how to coach a football team, he understands what it takes to win. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the personal transformation he made that helped the Giants win a Super Bowl not that long ago.

Coughlin is still imparting the same message he always has. Play smart, be disciplined, don't turn the ball over, play the game on the field and not in the media. Don't beat yourself.

Thing is, it's pretty obvious the Giants are no longer listening to their head coach. The indicators are everywhere.

  • The alarming lack of effort in the final two games of the 2009 season.
  • The fact that that same lack of effort showed up again last week vs. Indianapolis.
  • The incredible lack of discipline shown on the field by a veteran team, a team with a coach who has preached that very discipline and been successful doing it since the day he was hired back in 2004.
  • The fact that the Giants are talking now more than they are playing, witnessed by Antrel Rolle's explosion last week.

Can Coughlin regain control of this group? He has reinvented himself before and taken the Giants to the mountaintop.

Right now, though, the ship is listing badly and it seems the crew has locked the captain in his quarters and gagged him. Or, at least turned a deaf ear to his screams.

Can Coughlin make himself heard again? If he can't, this ship is going to sink. And we all know that once the cries for a coach's head get to a point where that becomes a constant question, that coach can no longer function. So, whether it is justified or not, Coughlin's Giants coaching career might go down with this ship.

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