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Tom Coughlin confident Giants can bounce back

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on against

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin looks on against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

There's no doubting in this Thomas.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin stood on the stage at the team's headquarters Monday, raised his right hand in front of the media and practically swore himself in as the grand poobah of the Turn This Thing Around club and annihilator of any doubt that threatens to creep into his team after its 0-2 start.

"I believe,'' he said with the force of a preacher. "I'm a believer. Put me up at the top, OK? Blame me for the problems, put me up at the top as far as getting this thing done. And I think they can do it.''

His pledge of positivity followed a nearly three-minute answer to a question about the fans who left early from Sunday's 25-14 loss to the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium and the general feeling of dismay that has engulfed the Giants' followers.

"They are fans. They bleed, they live and die with circumstances,'' Coughlin said. "It wasn't good [Sunday] . . . This is professional football. Make the plays necessary to win and do it on a consistent basis and eliminate these bizarre events which take the heart right out of you.''

Events such as dropped passes by Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. A punt returned for a touchdown (immediately after a drop on a third-down pass that would have picked up the first down). A fumble on a kickoff return by Quintin Demps and another when running back Rashad Jennings slipped and fell without any contact from the defense, coughing up the ball inside the 20 with the Giants poised to tie the score in the fourth quarter.

All of that can make it difficult to believe. Throw in the scars of last season, when the Giants started 0-6, and there isn't much positivity surrounding them.

Inside the team, though, there isn't much of a choice.

"You have to,'' Eli Manning told Newsday about remaining optimistic through these difficult times. "If you're not positive, it doesn't work. I promise you that.''

The Giants won four in a row and five of six in 2013 to improve to 5-7. It was too late for them to salvage the season. It's not too late now. But it's getting close.

"When you're 0-2, you want to get a win soon,'' Manning said. "We've got to get better.''

Coughlin said that starts with eliminating turnovers and penalties and playing clean football. "We beat ourselves,'' he said. "We're back to that axiom, the oldest in football.''

Even with his upbeat approach, Coughlin couldn't help but think about how Monday and this week and maybe even the season would have been different if the Giants had been able to beat the Cardinals and their backup quarterback at home in a game in which they held a fourth-quarter lead.

"Just like winning [Sunday] would have changed everything in terms of going forward, to lose and be behind the eight-ball puts everything back in motion along those lines,'' Coughlin said.

"To get out of the rut you're in, you've got to play well, you've got to make plays when they're there, and win a game to build the confidence that you need. To me, that's what it takes. You get in a tough game, it's a scrappy game, you find a way to win. It helps.''

Until then, the Giants have nothing to offer but their own stubborn faith that things will get better.

New York Sports