Coughlin tells Giants not to worry about him
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Coughlin is refusing to discuss his future as the coach of the New York Giants after a seventh straight loss that he acknowledges has made him feel miserable.
The 68-year-old said the skid has not in the least taken away his belief that he can lead the team, although he refused to say whether he would return if the Giants told him they wanted him to return for the final year of his contract.
''Don't start that stuff,'' said Coughlin, who led the Giants to Super Bowls victories after the 2007 and '11 seasons.
''I am not interested ... this thing is not about me. I am not interested in discussing my circumstances whatsoever. I am not worried or concerned. I am worried about my team as I said.''
The season may have hit rock bottom on Sunday when the Giants (3-9) blew a 21-point lead against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) and dropped a 25-24 decision.
New York had two fumbles returned for second-half touchdowns and saw the defense give up a late score for the second week in a row.
With four games left in the regular season, the Giants are assured of their second straight losing season and third year in a row out of the playoffs.
Coughlin said he has never experienced a run like this in his career. The past three games have been very frustrating. The Giants have been in position to beat San Francisco, Dallas and Jacksonville and failed to make the plays with the game on the line. It's been a common thread in this season marked by injuries.
In meeting with his players Monday, Coughlin told them to worry more about themselves than him.
As far as his critics, the long-time coach is ignoring them.
''I try to pay attention and do the job to best of my ability and my concern is with my coaches and my team,'' Coughlin said. ''Our organization, everybody in the Giants' organization, lives and dies with how this football team does. I understand that completely and the responsibility that I have my coaches and players and to our owners, we are going to work our every-loving (butts) off to try to find a way to win a game. That's all at this point in time that we can do.''
Quarterback Eli Manning, who lost one of the fumbles Sunday that was either recovered or returned for a touchdown, said Coughlin is not to blame for the Giants' woes. He said the team is still playing hard and has been close to winning.
''It's not his fault that we don't finish games,'' Manning said.
The Giants will try to end their misery on Sunday when they travel to Tennessee to play the Titans (2-10), the losers of six in a row.
Coughlin said the team needs to stick together.
''We are being tested, perhaps, like we have never been tested before,'' Coughlin said. ''I have some young guys in the room that have never been through anything like I am sure. I referred to them and I referred to the old guy standing in the front of the room talking who has never been through anything like this.''
Coughlin's advice was to stand tall, to be positive talking about teammates and to approach everything with character and integrity.
When asked how the losing made him feel, Coughlin was blunt about the skid that is the Giants' longest since losing eight straight in 2004, Coughlin's first year as coach of the team.
''Miserable,'' he said. ''What else can I say, but I am not going to let it get me down.''
The 3-9 record is the Giants' worst after 12 games since 1995, when they had the same mark.
Linebacker Jameel McClain said it's frustrating to be in position to win and not do it.
''Whether we're up by 21 or down by 21, I still want to finish it all strong if that's even possible for you all to believe,'' he said. ''We just haven't finished, so that is frustrating, not finishing.''
NOTES: Coughlin had no updates on injuries to OT Geoff Schwartz (ankle), OT James Brewer (concussion) and RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) and DE Robert Ayers (pectoral). ... OT Justin Pugh (quad) is expected to return this week after missing two weeks with his injury.
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