Coughlin takes blame for start, believes in team
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Coughlin still believes in the New York Giants.
With the season seemingly slipping away after a second straight 0-2 start, Coughlin didn't hesitate Monday to say that this team can turn things around.
The 68-year-old coach who has led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles but missed the postseason the past two years said the reasons the Giants are losing are obvious. They have turned the ball over six times and failed to record a takeaway. They have committed untimely penalties, made mental errors, and there is no way they are going to win scoring a combined 28 points.
It's like a year ago, except this is a better team and Coughlin hopes it shows up soon. It had better, or another 0-6 start wouldn't be farfetched.
''I believe,'' Coughlin said when asked about the sense of gloom among Giants fans. ''I believe. Put me up at the top. OK? Blame me for the problems. Put me at the top as far as getting this thing done and I think they can go do it.''
Sound similar to the optimism voiced more than four decades ago by New York Mets reliever Tug McGraw, who said ''You Gotta Believe'' at a low point in the 1973 season. And then Mets made the World Series.
For many Giants fans it's hard to believe in this team after watching a 35-14 loss to Detroit and a 25-14 setback on Sunday to the Cardinals. Arizona was without starting quarterback Carson Palmer (shoulder). Backup Drew Stanton was solid replacing him and he did not turn over the ball, something the Giants did four times.
''I felt the passion, I felt the want-to that game, it's a huge plus for this team,'' said safety and defensive captain Antrel Rolle, who refused to draw a comparison to last season. "We have to find a way to win and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.''
The Giants really hurt themselves in the fourth quarter. They allowed a go-ahead 71-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ted Ginn Jr., lost two fumbles, and saw Eli Manning throw his second interception of the game in the waning seconds.
The positive was the Giants left points and yards on the field in their second game under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. While the line didn't get the running game going, it was much better in pass protection.
There were several negatives, of course. New York dropped five passes, including a major one by Cruz a play before Ginn's return. And it lost three points when Manning threw a first-quarter pick in field goal range.
The Giants also squandered a chance to tie late when running back Rashad Jennings fumbled deep in Cardinals territory after slipping with no one around him and having his elbow hit the turf, knocking the ball loose.
''You see the opportunities and you see the plays we made,'' said Manning, who threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. ''So there are plays out there to be made, we just didn't execute quite well enough and finish some drives well enough.''
Defensively, the Giants gave up fewer points in Week 2, but for the second straight week they allowed too many big plays - and made some bonehead plays.
In the opener, the Lions got their first touchdown when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown collided, leaving Calvin Johnson alone. This week there was linebacker Jameel McClain's roughing-the-passer call on a play the officials stopped because of a delay of game, plus way too many big plays allowed on third-and-long.
The Giants face another though opponent this week when Houston (2-0) visits.
''I think when you are 0-2, you want to get a win soon,'' Manning said. ''We have the Texans coming in and we have another home game, so hopefully we've got to get better, but we have to do it soon. We don't have a whole lot of time to keep waiting to get better.''
Jennings said effort has not been an issue for the Giants. It's mistakes and being on the same page.
''We're going to be fine,'' Jennings said. ''We're headed in the right direction and it needs to start now, obviously. But what else are you going to do? We'll come to work and get ready for Sunday.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL