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Why quarterback sneaks aren't in Tom Coughlin's playbook

Rashad Jennings #23 of the New York Giants

Rashad Jennings #23 of the New York Giants is stopped on a run by the San Francisco 49ers defense at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

When the Giants failed to convert a fourth-and-inch on a handoff to Rashad Jennings on Sunday, one of the most obvious questions was why they didn't try a quarterback sneak. Coach Tom Coughlin said on Sunday that the Giants simply don't run that play. Period.

On Monday, he elaborated.

"To me it's the quarterback," he said of the risk of that kind of push play. "I've felt that way, always have. I don't like them sticking their neck in the pile. I think there are other ways to go about it."

How long has Coughlin had this philosophy?

"I didn't do it with Doug Flutie," he said, harkening back to his days at Boston College. When asked about Mark Brunell in Jacksonville, Coughlin said: "I still didn't do quarterback sneaks, but he did run the ball."

Eli Manning doesn't. Not even when all the team needs is a push of half an inch for a key first down.

"We haven't called many," Manning said. "Over the years maybe we did a few early on, but that's not my call. That's what he believes in."

Manning may not run sneaks, but he has also played in 161 straight games. It's hard to say whether there is a correlation between the lack of sneaks and his durability.

"Obviously, it comes up sometimes, some teams do it, some teams don't want to do it," Manning said. "Opportunities for the quarterback to take hits in the head, and I don't know if there is a huge risk for injury."

Manning said he and Coughlin haven't had many heart-to-hearts about the play.

"We never talked about it much," Manning said. "Coach Coughlin never told me, 'Hey, we are not going to run a quarterback sneak.' I have heard him say it a few times [to others]. We feel for one inch we can get the movement with our offensive line and our tailback."

You'd like to think so, anyway.

New York Sports