Big Blue Morning: Coughlin's challenge

The New York Giants' team website on Thursday published a lengthy interview with Giants coach Tom Coughlin (How did they get Coughlin??? Oh right), and there's a lot of good stuff in there. Coughlin talks about what the team saw in running back Rashad Jennings before they signed him, what reasonable hope is for a David Wilson recovery, the chemistry between defensive leaders Antrel Rolle and Jon Beason ... worth your time to read it if you're a Giants fan.

One thing I wanted to highlight was the part where Coughlin talks about the challenge that faces him and his coaching staff. The Giants have so far brought in 13 free agents who were with other organizations in 2013, and Coughlin knows it's up to him to make sure everyone gets on the same page as quickly as possible:

"You’ve got a big part of our football team that has not been through our routine, the way we do things, the presentation of our values and our principles, what we believe in, how we work, how we practice, how they are to come to work. So we have a lot of basic, fundamental teaching to do. It is definitely a year of transition, no doubt. I think that it must be recognized in terms of the due diligence that’s been done by pro personnel, (assistant general manager) Kevin Abrams and by (general manager) Jerry (Reese).


“I said all along that the stimulation here, even for our veteran players, for Eli (Manning) to re-focus and to be energized by new, the new learning, the new presentation of material, the different terminology, the things that must be mastered before you even get out of the huddle. I think all of those things are stimulating.”

I completely buy the idea of Coughlin as energized by his challenge. Part of me wondered, toward the end of 2013, whether Coughlin would want to stick around for a roster rebuild at this point in his career. But once he made it clear he did, I'm not surprised to know that his heart is fully in it. I don't think he'd have come back if it weren't.

I have a column running today about the idea of Manning as the key element to the Giants' hopes for a 2014 recovery, because he's the one player they know can elevate them from good to great. But it's worth mentioning Coughlin as a similar asset. The Giants' greatest organizational strengths remain coach and quarterback (when the latter is on his game, at least), and as long as they're strong there, they will always have a chance to contend for the postseason.