Tom Coughlin says Eli Manning and receivers weren't always on same page

Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks on during the

Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks on during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys. (Nov. 24, 2013) (Credit: Mike Stobe)

Giants coach Tom Coughlin capped a week in which words such as "broken" and "disconnect" were used to describe the Giants' offense by suggesting that Eli Manning lacked some measure of faith in his receivers during the 2013 season.

"You lost an element of trust in a couple of ways," he said Friday in a WFAN interview. "When an individual turns a ball down or when a recognized route adjustment is not followed and the quarterback throws the ball in anticipation and it becomes an interception, you have things of this nature happen."

Manning threw a career-high 27 interceptions as the Giants (7-9) finished with their worst record since 2004, his rookie season. As the season wrapped up, receivers Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle spoke about the "disconnect" they felt with the quarterback.

"Yeah, I felt like we were not on the same page time to time," Randle said Monday. "So that's something, like Victor said, that we've got to get better at. I think we all feel the same way, that we left some plays out there we should have made and weren't exactly on the same page."

One of the surprises in that dynamic was Hakeem Nicks, who has caught more Manning passes than any other player. Nicks had 56 catches for 896 yards but no TDs.

"It just didn't happen for him," Coughlin said in the radio interview. "We all scratch our heads over that."

He did offer a theory on why, or maybe it was more of an indictment. "The ball would be there and a couple of times he didn't go for the ball and a couple of other times, he wasn't able to get himself open on a continuous basis," he said. "It just wasn't a very productive year as much as we would like to think."

Coughlin touched on a number of other subjects in the wide-ranging interview.

He insisted that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who announced his retirement Thursday, was not forced out.

"The first thing that I said to our owners [in Thursday's meetings] is that I'm responsible for the coaches, and to think that there's any one individual who is responsible for the circumstances that we found ourselves in, that's crazy," Coughlin said. He added that he is "gathering information" about candidates to replace Gilbride.

He said he was impressed by rookie right tackle Justin Pugh and would like to see him add about 10 pounds. Coughlin said if Pugh does that, the Giants might consider moving him, possibly even to left tackle. "He has the feet," Coughlin said. "He can literally go anywhere."

Coughlin also said that regardless of whether Jason Pierre-Paul needs shoulder surgery -- a decision will be made by the end of January -- he is expected to be at full strength by the start of the 2014 season.

"He'll be full speed next year," Coughlin said. "He'll be hungry to play and prove himself."

Jacobs retires. Brandon Jacobs, 31, who had a cartilage graft in his left knee last month, announced his retirement from the NFL via Twitter on Thursday night. He had a team-record 60 rushing touchdowns, and his 5,087 rushing yards in eight years are the fourth-most in Giants history. "The New York Giants are a great organization," he said, "and I am proud to have been a part of it for so long."

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