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Coughlin: Don't blame Eli, blame me!

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts during the

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Oct. 6, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

A day after he called some of Eli Manning’s plays “almost unbelievable” and “terrible” in the wake of the loss to the Eagles, Tom Coughlin made it clear that not even the three interceptions that doomed the Giants were entirely the quarterback’s fault.

“I know that we’re maligning my quarterback today, and believe me there’s a bunch of people involved in that,” Coughlin said. “Those things don’t happen just one-on-one now. It’s a team concept. Whether you have a pressure situation, whether you have something, somebody comes loose in front of him and he tries to move, whether the receiver doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, whether people don’t combat for the ball, whatever it is, it’s a team game and yes, the head coach is the guy who is responsible for the losses. The players need to be there for each other in all circumstances and this criticizing the quarterback for the outcome and for everything there at the end of the game really is not right.”

In fact, Coughlin said the blame for the whole mess of an 0-5 start should land on his own shoulders.

“That’s the way it is,” he said. “I’m the head coach. Things aren’t going the way they should.”

The Giants are in hurry-up mode this week as they prepare to face the Bears on Thursday night, but Coughlin did take some time to visit with Manning today.

“He feels bad about the game just as we all do,” Coughlin said. “We’re suffering remorse for opportunity lost. He’s certainly going to get it right back up again in short, very short preparation for the next opponent. I know that part will be done properly. I wish I could bring his spirits back up, but it takes a little bit of time. Unfortunately it’s very, very close to yesterday. He’ll bounce back, he’ll bounce back.”

Despite taking the blame, though, Coughlin was not totally absolving Manning and his 12 interceptions and the team’s 20 turnovers.

“I can understand what the football world may think,” he said of those who have blames Manning for the skid and this loss in particular. “The guy is trying to play the best he can, he’s probably, he’s certainly trying to do too much. He knows his team and he knows his responsibility. He’s an extremely accountable guy and he’s going to do everything he possibly can. Sometimes it’s not to be done that way. I’m not making any excuses either. We all know the number of turnovers is in a terrible state and it’s the one thing that I preach, period. You know that it’s salt on the wound with me every time something like that happens.”

And it's also worth noting that for all of the falling on his sword that Coughlin did today to protect the players, taking the blows to shield them from criticism, he was asked if he will make any changes to his coaching staff or the play-callers. His one-word answer to that:

"No."

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