There isn't a bigger vote of confidence a general manager can give to his coach than the one Jerry Reese gave Tuesday. Asked how the Giants managed to stay together during their 0-6 start and not fracture into blamers and gripers and malcontents, Reese offered a two-word explanation: "Tom Coughlin."
Of all the things that have gone wrong for the team this season, Reese clearly believes that Coughlin is still the right man to coach the Giants for as long as he wishes. While Reese did say that "when you don't win, people do get fired," it was clear he was not talking about one person in particular.
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"Age has nothing to do with coach Coughlin," Reese said when asked if Coughlin's -- which is 67 -- would factor into any decisions about him after this season. "Coach Coughlin is a tremendous football coach."
Reese said he would not speak for ownership, but suggested that they, too, are behind Coughlin and still believe in the direction of the franchise under his leadership.
"The passion that he brings to the table, all of our players can see that," Reese said. "All of us can see that. That's never wavered with him."
Coughlin may have done a strong job keeping the players from splintering, but can he complete the turnaround and bring them back to the playoffs? That is how his success will be measured, after all.
"This is a big spot for him," Reese said. "I would never bet against him."
Manning sees the ceiling
Quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan said one of the reasons Eli Manning has been able to eliminate interceptions in the last two weeks after throwing 15 of them in the first six games is an awareness of the "ceiling" of each play.
"There's a time to know that this play has reached its maximum, whether it was good or it was bad, that's that," Ryan said. "His intentions, which are honorable always, of trying to extend the play or make a play are not always going to be beneficial."
That doesn't mean he should not be aggressive. "I think it's very critical that he continues to take his shots when they're smart and when they won't get us into trouble," Ryan said.
Reese said RB David Wilson (neck) will be re-examined early next week when the players return from the bye. As for whether the herniated disc and stenosis of the spine could be career-threatening, Reese sounded concerned. "Anytime you have a situation with your neck and your spine, that's some serious things that you have to take into consideration," he said . . . OL coach Pat Flaherty said he's been impressed with rookie Justin Pugh's improvement in pass-blocking and believes he has a future as a tackle. Some have speculated Pugh might be better suited as a guard.