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Throwing gas on the Coughlin fire

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It's July, training camps don't open for a few weeks and bored football writers everywhere have nothing substantive to do.

So, what do we get? Lists. Lists, lists, lists everywhere about almost everything you can think of. There is no escape -- read a football site and you are pretty much guaranteed to find a list about something.

Of course, that means it was only a matter of time before somebody listed which coaches are most likely to get fired during or after the upcoming season. Which, of course, means stirring up more speculation about Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

The 'Coaching Heads on Chopping Block' list is provided by Clark Judge of CBSSportsline.com.

Coughlin comes in as the second-most likely coach to lose his job, with only Cleveland's Romeo Crennel above him.

Here is part of what Judge had to say about Coughlin.

Coughlin must know he's walking the plank. How else do you explain his reaching out to beat reporters in the offseason to make peace? That's not Coughlin's style. It is, however, the sign of someone who knows he's in trouble and is desperate for support. Maybe that's why Coughlin put the gag order on players, hoping to eliminate the criticism that helped sabotage the Giants last season. But that lasts only as long as the team wins, which must happen for Coughlin to make it through to 2008 ... the last year of his contract.

I know I'm probably throwing fuel on the fire by even referencing Judge's list, but when I saw it I felt I had to point it out.

I really don't want to spend the entire season talking about Coughlin, though considering that his future is such a hot-button issue I'll probably spend more time on it than I want to.

For me, it comes down to this. Coughlin is a gruff, set in his ways old-guard coach who is hard to get along with and could really care less if the media or the players like him.

He does, however, have a track record that indicates he knows how to coach -- even if he doesn't look like it on the sidelines sometimes.

If the Giants make the playoffs, he stays. If they don't, TC will likely have a lot more time on his hands to spend with the grandkids.

It's really that simple.