While much of Tom Coughlin's Wednesday press conference was centered on the surprise firing of Chip Kelly and his own future, Thursday's presser was much more focused on the New York Giants rather than their head coach. Coughlin answered questions regarding the injury situation, the growth of Landon Collins, and the future of Prince Amukamara, as well as his own.
As pretty much everyone already knows, the Giants have yet again been ravaged by injuries. They have led the league in games lost to injury in each of the last two years, and 2015 seems to be following suit. Coughlin was asked if he would blame their injury situation on simple bad luck, but the coach refused, saying:
"I refuse to go that way, to be honest with you. We've done, and you guys can verify everything, we've changed pretty much everything in the whole program designed to become more scientific and to have more information and more knowledge and to do a better job of adjusting our practices if that's the way we need to do it. I think at the end of the year when this is all evaluated, we probably have as many injuries as we've ever had. It is football and that's where it goes. Do you sometimes need to have that issue (luck) that you just talked about going for you? Sure you do. But I understand New England's had a ton of injuries this year. Teams have to deal with this. It is no excuse, but it happens."
On Landon Collins
If you were to look at the Giants roster in May and try to pinpoint who the Giants' most consistent player would be -- other than Eli Manning -- you probably wouldn't have come up with rookie safety Landon Collins. But that is exactly what happened. Collins has played nearly every snap in every single game for the Giants. It hasn't always been pretty, but he has been steadily improving and seems to have made a jump in his play since the week 10 bye.
Coach Coughlin was asked for his assessment of the rookie safety, and he replied, "He's definitely improved over the course of the season, without a doubt. He's become more aggressive. He's done a nice job down in the box. He's learned to time up his pressures better. He's gotten himself in position in the secondary better. So he's learning as he goes. I think he's going to be an outstanding player going forward."
Collins' struggles to start the season were plain to see. He appeared to be doing much more thinking than playing, and it slowed him down. When asked if those struggles were expected, Coughlin said "No question. No question. For any young player all of a sudden put in that position. He was very good in college, very good down in the box. Good tackler, did all those kinds of things. The other responsibilities here at this level, the coverage ideas, he had to learn all of that stuff. He's going to be a real good player."
On Prince Amukamara
The Giants' starting cornerback has been candid about his thoughts regarding his impending free agency. Complicating matters were the mid-season pectoral injury Amukamara suffered, and Coughlin was asked whether or not he felt that the injury contributed to Amukamara's uneven performance since his return.
"Sure, it does. Yeah, sure it does. But I mean, when you come back, you've got to deal with it yourself, too. You've got to make a decision about it. If you're ready to go, you're ready to go," Coughlin said.
Coughlin also said that the last couple games he has seen an improvement from Prince, saying that there has been "more on the upside", particularly in the Minnesota game.
He was also asked what he has said to players regarding free agency. Coughlin said "Play as hard as you can. Do as well as you can. That's your resume. I don't normally get into those kinds of discussions with them, unless I feel it's something that would help the player to beâmaybe the player is missing the point about some of that stuff and not doing the things he should do, remembering that everything that he can do is going to take place out on the field. Normally, a free agent, my discussions with everybody is normally about team. I don't like to go that way."
On his own future
For a couple weeks, Ed has said that he believes that Tom Coughlin is wearing down. The 69-year-old coach still has more energy than many men half his age, but he may be growing tired of the grind of preparing a losing team to try and eke out a win.
When asked whether or not his wants to come back and coach next year, Coughlin's answer seems to give credence to that feeling.
"Do I want to come back? I don't know if that's a great question right now. What I want to do is win a game on Sunday, that's the bottom line for this group right now. I always have the competitive spirit. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to figure it all out when it's over. Right now, let's stick with the game and let's go win a football game."