Tom Coughlin backs off postgame criticism, Antrel Rolle doesn't
Tom Coughlin said he was not surprised that a season's worth of frustration came bubbling over the lip of the locker room and into the public after Sunday's 23-0 home loss to the Seahawks.
"There was a lot of emotion going into that game," he said of the opportunity to measure up against the NFC's best team. "The frustration was there. It was very real. It was very emotional . . . It was a difficult loss and a frustrating year, to be honest with you, and some of that came out."
On Monday, he and the Giants tried to put it back in. "Today is a day of healing," he said, "of recognizing who we are."
Coughlin backtracked from his own criticism, saying that upon review, much of the offensive ineptitude was due to lack of execution, not lack of effort. But anyone expecting a cleanup on Aisle 26 -- where Antrel Rolle could have distanced himself from his postgame comments calling out the offense's lack of heart and fight -- would have been disappointed.
"For anyone who saw the game, I think that's obvious," Rolle said, reiterating his remarks about the other side of the ball. "I just think [Sunday] there could have been more fight. That's it. I stand by my words. I stand by my words 100 percent."
He also said there was no need to have a day of "healing" in the locker room. "I don't think there was too much to patch up," he said. "Everyone saw the game, everyone knows what took place. Things like that are going to happen within a football team, especially when people care about their job and their profession, their performance . . . Everything here is fine."
Eli Manning, whose five interceptions were the defining stat of the loss and whose 25 interceptions are the defining stat of the season, said he could not disagree with Rolle's assessment.
"We were frustrated as an offense, and I think the defense was frustrated seeing us go out there not playing very well," Manning said. "There wasn't anything said that was totally undeserved. Offensively, whatever word you want to use to describe it is probably pretty accurate. It wasn't good. It wasn't a good outing by us, and that's disappointing and upsetting."
The only player who seemed to want to take back his comments was tight end Brandon Myers, whose tweets referenced being "cussed out" by teammates and who defended his effort. He said he is "not good with words" and that those postings did not reflect a specific incident. He also said it wasn't a good idea to publish them at an emotionally charged time.
The one thing the Giants fought hard to do Monday was whitewash the perception that they are a team in free fall, coming apart at the seams that held them together through the 0-6 start to this season.
"Everyone knows our offense is struggling, but this team wins and loses as a team, and there will never be any division in this locker room," Justin Tuck said. "We have no shot if that takes place. And I don't think [Sunday] was any sign of that. I just think it was a sign of trying to challenge guys to go out there and play better . . . It was guys trying to get guys riled up."
Coughlin said he was disappointed that in-house drama made its way into public conversation, but he does not believe that any of it will tear what's left of the team or the season apart.
"I think that Antrel will make sure that it doesn't," he said. "I'm sure he'll go to the people that he needs to and discuss it . . . It won't be an issue."
Asked if he thinks the team will stick together for the final two weeks, Rolle said, "That's all we have right now."