INDIANAPOLIS – We’re here at the NFL Scouting Combine to talk about the future players, but inevitably when coaches come to the podium questions turn to the players already on the roster. Particularly the ones who are coming off of injuries or heading into free agency. So here’s a roundup of the current Giants that Tom Coughlin spoke about on Friday:
“We’re very confident that Eli will, with the help of others around him, he’s not by himself in this by any means, with the help of his coaches and the help of his teammates, will return to the high stature that we hold him in,” Coughlin said. “I feel very good about that. I’ve seen it in his eyes as he’s returned back a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. We’re excited about that too.”
And what about Eli’s ankle?
“The last I saw him he felt good. He could get up on his toes. I don’t know if he would call himself 100 percent but he was well on his way.”
The big question is whether he’ll be ready for the start of training camp after neck surgery.
“I really don’t know the answer to that question,” Coughlin said. “I think a lot has to do with his attitude, the way he feels, the way the doctors and trainers obviously feel. He’s not going to be put out there unless he’s ready for that. I’m not even sure how he’s going to be limited in the spring. I saw him about four or five days ago and he’s that same bouncy personality. He’s very pleased with where he’s at right now. He’s able to do work with his legs for example, not as a heavy-duty thing but in a lighter capacity. He’s excited about that. He looks good, he feels good. He doesn’t have a lot of pain. I’m excited about that. But there’s no question that … Forget about that he could be a difference-maker on the team, it’s the idea that is he going to be healthy enough to be able to withstand. That will be the doctors’ and our main concern. We’re not going to put him out there unless he really really believes in himself again and the doctors believe he’ll be ready to go.”
He struggled through the first half of the season following back surgery and then missed the final four games with a shoulder injury.
“At this point in time he’s on schedule,” Coughlin said of the once-dominant defensive end. “There was no surgery involved, so hopefully he’s going to return back to feeling the way he has in the past and be excited about himself because he feels good and there’s no limitations.”
Pierre-Paul is coming off injuries and heading into a contract season, something that did not work out very well for Hakeem Nicks. Is there anything Coughlin can say to JPP to avoid any of the pitfalls Nicks fell into?
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” he said. “He’s been right there with that. I don’t know whether that was anything there in terms of Hakeem with the contract. But Jason, we had good conversations before he left. He wants to be the player that he was a couple of years ago when he returns. I’m interested in that.”
Speaking of Nicks:
“He’s a free agent and who knows,” Coughlin said. “You’d basically like to have all of your free agents back, that doesn’t happen. You have guys injured, you have limitations on salaries. I’m sure that the market will be where Hakeem will go and we’ll see what happens.”
The veteran guard is coming off hip and wrist surgeries.
“He’s progressing well,” Coughlin said. “He’s working. He’s building himself back up. He feels good and he’s looking forward to feeling better. All I can tell you is that he’s making very good progress.”
There are other areas of concern regarding Snee, including his salary cap number for 2014 and the possibility that he may retire. The Giants obviously need to know what’s happening, if they’ll need to replace him or build around him.
“Certainly there is a natural built-in timetable as the process goes along here,” Coughlin said. “Right now it’s all off-season and he’s in the rehab aspect of it. But for anybody that’s been injured, obviously the rehab and all of those things come into play as you start to formulate where you are. Right now I’m optimistic about it.”
Coughlin added that Snee is building himself up with the goal of playing in 2014, so right now retirement does not seem to be on the table.
"I’d love to keep them all,” Coughlin said. “Free agency begins and we’ll see. I can’t answer that question.”