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Tom Coughlin itching for pads but wary of contact

Tom Coughlin speaks to the media during training

Tom Coughlin speaks to the media during training camp. (July 27, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Tom Coughlin has had enough of touch football.

The Giants head coach is itching to get the team into pads just as much as the players are. “We need that,” Coughlin said after a third practice in shells.

It will help the coaches evaluate the players better once they get suited up and can start hitting against each other for real, but Coughlin also noted that they need the pads to protect themselves from their own instinctive enthusiasm.

“Quite frankly they bang on each other more than they’re supposed to,” Coughlin said. “No matter how many times you talk about ‘hands and feet, hands and feet,’ there’s a lot of shoulders. So we need the protection of that, especially as they get more and more aggressive.”

The schedule has the Giants in shoulder pads and shorts tomorrow, off on Wednesday, and in full pads on Thursday.

Coughlin hasn’t had live tackling in any training camp since I’ve been covering the team and this is my sixth camp with him. He believes that’s what the preseason games are for.

Coughlin said with the way camps are structured with one practice a day and for such a short period of time (teams used to play six preseason games!), plus limited workouts during the offseason program, it doesn’t make sense to run the players into each other at full speed.

“But you’ve still got to, in this day and age, you have to try to do the best you can,” Coughlin said. “It’s a very fine line. You have to get a team ready to play and they’ve got to be physical, but you can’t step over the line. You have to take care of each other. Although it’s highly competitive it is a team and you’re working as a team to improve each other. That’s what you have to keep in mind. Is it easy? No.”

That’s not to say the players aren’t working hard.

“They work hard year-round,” Coughlin. “You’re just not going to see any full scrimmages or anything of that nature. At least not from me.”

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