Tom Coughlin can bend time to his will, but even he cannot control the weather.

So the Giants coach has adopted a pragmatic approach to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, keeping his players as focused as possible on their jobs while understanding that expecting their undivided attention is impossible.

"We are not denying what's going on,'' he said. "I think that's foolish. Everyone has been struck by this. Although I'd like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through.''

Coughlin, who famously sets all Giants clocks five minutes ahead, had his players come in three hours later than usual Wednesday, at 10 a.m., to give them more time to tend to matters at home.

The coach said he did not lose power at his house in Park Ridge, N.J., but many Giants still were without heat and electricity when they returned to work.

The most arresting illustration of the storm's impact on the Giants was a photo of Eli Manning surveying the flooded lobby of the building where he lives in Hoboken, N.J., with his wife, Abby, and 19-month-old daughter, Ava.

The picture apparently was taken by a neighbor and widely was distributed on the Internet after Manning had weathered the storm at home Monday night and before he moved his family to a hotel late Tuesday.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I saw water coming over the Hudson River into the streets,'' he said, "and you see very quickly all of a sudden cars completely covered with water so obviously it can be scary, and the wind was blowing and the windows were shaking.''

On Tuesday, he said, the water had receded "back where it should be, and you just kind of start figuring out what you're going to do the next couple of days.''

Manning had come to the Timex Performance Center Monday morning to get his laptop and by Tuesday night was studying the Steelers, a team the Giants face only every four years.

But many teammates could not get in their usual early week video study. Most said they would make up for it Wednesday night.

"I'll stay here a little bit longer and watch what I can, then I'll be able to watch at home until my laptop dies,'' safety Stevie Brown said.

Another powerless player, linebacker Michael Boley, said, "For a lot of guys, if we want to watch extra film we're going to be around here for a while.''

The most colorful tale came from tight end Martellus Bennett, who said he and his wife fled their storm-damaged area after helping with the cleanup Monday and moved in with guard Kevin Boothe, who had electricity.

Bennett joked that he feared his presence would damage property values in Boothe's neighborhood. Once there, he painted pictures with Boothe's 2-year-old son. "He thought Martellus was there solely to play with him,'' Boothe said. "He can come by anytime.''

To a man, the Giants were thankful to have Coughlin in charge at a moment such as this. Despite his flexibility, they fully expected him to maintain his exacting standards.

"Not a lot of things are going to change around here, storm or not,'' Boley said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Manning, like his coach, has a track record of calm amid figurative storms.

But the devastation in Hoboken was an eye-opener even for a guy from New Orleans; he said the Mannings usually left town for safer ground during storms in his childhood. He said there were many images from this week he would not soon forget.

By Wednesday, though, he was determined to look only forward.

"It's good to get everybody back in here and get the team together,'' he said, "and understand that we've got to get ready to play a game.''