Coughlin tweaks schedule, post-Sandy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin usually begins his Wednesday morning news conference with a mini-lecture on the Giants' latest opponent.

This week, however, the head coach opened things up on a non-football note before moving on to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Hopefully your families are safe, and not too inconvenienced. But we know a lot of our great fans have had devastating results from this incredible storm," Coughlin said, referring to Hurricane Sandy. "And we start out by just saying we wish everyone safety, and hope that the families are healthy and safe."

The Giants usually begin practice around noon on Wednesday, right after Coughlin's news conference. But the start time was pushed back to 4 p.m. this week. (The players were off Tuesday, but that is the team's customary day off each week.)

"We've made some adjustments to try to accommodate, in anticipation of some issues that we might have," Coughlin said. "But I don't think that's gonna inhibit anything."

"The coaches have been hard at it," he added. "By tonigh, after we've practiced late this afternoon, I think our entire operation, in terms of the way in which we proceed with our preparation, will be on schedule."

Coughlin is well-known as a stickler when it comes to scheduling and timeliness. But in this case, the stickler showed some flexibility.

"Everyone has been struck by this, and although I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the team at hand, I do think that you have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men and their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through," Coughlin said.

Many of the players live in New Jersey, which was particularly ravaged by the storm.

"We realize this is a part of life," Coughlin said. "We've been struck by a blow by Mother Nature, and we have to deal with it the best way we can."

BACK TO BUSINESS: Coughlin was highly complimentary of the Steelers, who are 4-3, a game behind the Ravens in the AFC North.

He heaped praise on Pittsburgh's offense, defense and special teams.

"This is an outstanding football team," Coughlin said. "They defeated Washington last weekend, they defeated Philadelphia, and those are teams that we know very, very well. So, we’ve been studying them as best as we can over the last couple of days."