The offseason is here, and changes will come to the New York Giants after a second straight disappointing season, this one a 7-9 year that was their first losing season since 2004. One change that should not come, however, involves the head coach. Tom Coughlin deserves to stay and try to right this ship.
All signs are that Coughlin will be back in 2014, the final year of his contract. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported Sunday that Coughlin was "safe" for next year. There have been no indications otherwise, despite Coughlin's refusal Sunday night to go the Rex Ryan route during his post-game presser and announce his return.
"Don't ask me that," Coughlin bristled when questioned about his desire to return next season. "I'm not answering that type of question right now. There will be an evaluation of everything, I'm sure, and we'll go from there."
The players want him back, with captains Eli Manning and Justin Tuck both supporting the coach during their post-game comments.
Tuck, who may or may not be a Giant himself next season, said he would be "shocked" if the Giants replaced Coughlin.
"You tell me somebody that's better prepared than he does and as far as players being in that locker room for nine years now, I haven't seen him change not one bit as far as has he has this team prepared, how he prepares," Tuck said. "This guy... He prepares his butt off and I think the fire is still there. I think he still feels like he has a lot to prove in this league and I think he's going to go into this offseason just like all of us, figuring out ways to have a better season next year and I think you're not going to find anybody that's going to prepare a team as well as he does. Obviously I'm biased, but I damn sure hope that he's manning the sidelines next year."
With more than two-dozen free agents and a roster that needs to be extensively re-tooled an argument could be made that if the Giants wanted to start over this would be a good time to do so. Manning, the franchise quarterback, turns 33 next season and the reality is that with the windown on his prime years beginning to close now isn't the time to blow things up and start again.
Coughlin, with two Super Bowl titles under his belt, should be given one more opportunity to straighten out the Giants.
What will be interesting to see is whether or not the Giants give the 67-year-old coach an extension, and how long that extension runs if they give him one.
Coughlin's coaching staff will almost certainly undergo some change, and it will be difficult to attract quality assistants -- especially at the coordinator level if the Giants want to make changes there -- unless there is some indication Coughlin is more than a one-and-done head coach in 2014.
What happens next year if the Giants once again fail to live up to expectations? Well, eventually everyone's grace period runs out. Right now, though, it's hard to blame the 2014 failure on Coughlin. Too little talent to begin with, too many personnel mistakes and too many injuries doomed this team. Coughlin's guidance is probably the only reason this team didn't turn into the Washington Redskins, who won just three games.
Add my voice to that of those who believe the Giants currently have the right coach.
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