Tom Coughlin's constructive criticism easier to take after Giants' first win

Head coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants reacts Head coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants reacts to a penalty call against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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The morning after the Giants' first win of the season, they went back to business. But it wasn't as usual.

Tom Coughlin said he and his coaching staff dove headlong into preparations for the fast-approaching Eagles game on Sunday, so there was little time to celebrate Monday night's 23-7 victory over the Vikings. Still, during those few times the head coach was not in his office making the preliminary pushes toward a two-game winning streak, he said he could sense a different vibe in the building.

And not just with the players.

"Everyone in this building, every Giant employee, because they're so dedicated and so loyal and so much involved with our team on the field that when you're not performing the way you should, they're down," Coughlin said. "And when you win, certainly their spirits are high."

Coughlin said there are still plenty of corrections to be made off the Vikings game, but that coaching is easier to deliver and certainly easier to digest when the team has won the game.

"You can compliment, and then you can correct," Coughlin said. "The compliments go along with the objective, which is winning, and then you can go into the details of how you are going to improve and what needs to happen in order to improve. I think the atmosphere which you present those things is always much more greatly received when you're coming off of a win."

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There was no sense that the snapping of the six-game skid to open the season represented an end, though. Rather, it may have been the beginning.

Safety Antrel Rolle was asked if there was a sense of relief over finally breaking the ice, and he scoffed at the idea.

"I think the pressure is on now more than ever," he said during his weekly segment on WFAN. "In my eyes we have to win out. That's the way I look at it, I'm sure that's the way our team looks at it. We have to win out. We dug a pretty big hole for ourselves and we have to fight like hell to get out of it. Is the pressure off? Absolutely not."

The outspoken Rolle said he knows he catches flak for his comments, which are generally overly enthusiastic. When the Giants were 0-4, he predicted a 12-4 final record. When they lost their sixth straight, he maintained his belief in the team while conceding he was sounding "like a broken record." Now that they have won a game, he thinks the Giants can win nine more.

"Right now we're up to something good," Rolle said, "but it's going to be up to us to keep it consistent."

There were plenty of areas where the Giants were lacking against the Vikings. Their special-teams coverages were terrible. Eli Manning did not throw an interception, but the Vikings dropped several chances for picks. And Hakeem Nicks is struggling to catch passes and create separation from defenders.

But when a team wins, and wins for the first time in a long time, there are a lot more smiles even while discussing failures.

"It wasn't perfect by any means," Coughlin said. "There were a lot of things that have got to be improved if we're going to go forward here."

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At least now, with a tally in the win column, going forward won't require a change of direction.

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