Tom Coughlin has a stock answer for these situations.
“I don’t like to see anyone lose a job,” he said on Wednesday.
Only he wasn’t talking about himself.
He was instead referring to the Eagles’ sudden dismissal of their head coach, Chip Kelly, which happened on Tuesday night. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was named interim head coach for Sunday’s game against the Giants.
“I’m not surprised by anything in this business,” Coughlin said. “But that one was close.”
As for his own fate, that seems to carry less of a shock value. While nothing has been officially declared or even discussed – Coughlin said he has not spoken with co-owner John Mara this week — there seems to be a very strong likelihood that Coughlin will coach his final game for the Giants on Sunday.
At this point, it’s not something Coughlin wants to talk about.
“I’m going to prepare myself and our team as best we can for this game, period,” he said. “This is the 16th game of the season and that’s where I’m focused on. I won’t let myself go in those other directions because we have a job to do. And that’s what we have to do. All these other issues will clear up in time, but not before then.”
Coughlin said he spoke to the team about the speculation, but in terms of ignoring it. He said he implored the team to focus on their preparation “despite all the things that are going on on the outside.”
“I said, ‘It’s not fair, you’re young men,’” he said. “‘I’m the head coach, you’re the players.’ I appreciate the sentiments, but that’s not where I want them focused this week. Basically I said, ‘Don’t worry about me or my situation. Let’s prepare ourselves to play an outstanding football game and try to win a game against a Philadelphia Eagle team.’”
Coughlin said he expects Shurmur and his staff to settle things down after some expected tumult in the next few days. As for the “Chip Kelly Offense” that has gone 4-1 against the Giants, Coughlin said he believes they will continue to play the same system they have.
Of course, the Eagles job isn’t the only one that will make news this week.
“I understand what you’re trying to get at, but it’s not my position to say that,” Coughlin said. “I am preparing for this game, and that’s the best I can do.”