John Fennelly, Lead WriterThe NFL Combine workouts begin today. Offensive linemen and tight ends are up first and the Giants will be watching closely. GM Jerry Reese will meet the media this morning.
Yesterday, the Giants extended head coach Tom Coughlin’s contract another year. He’s been extended to the end of the 2015 season at a rate of $7 million per annum.
Coughlin spoke briefly about the recent changes among the assistant coaching ranks. Although he admitted looking forward to a fresh start on offense, Coughlin was a bit forlorn when talking about the men he had to part ways with last month after working for so many years together.
“It’s very difficult,” Coughlin said about the coaching changes on the team’s website yesterday. “You have coaches that have, in many cases, been with you a long, long time with Kevin (Gilbride) retiring and with Mike (Pope) and Jerald (Ingram) — they had been with me a long time. I have great respect for them. It’s never easy. It’s a very difficult thing for a head coach to do, whether it be a player, whether it be a coach, guys I have respect for. They were very, very good football coaches. I just felt like in those situations that I needed to make some other changes after Kevin retired in the best interest of our team. And in doing that, we’re back on track now trying to get ourselves ready for the spring.”
As for certain players, Coughlin said he wished he could keep all of his impending free agents (most notably Justin Tuck). He also talked about the progress of RB David Wilson, who is coming back from neck surgery, and the objective to get DE Jason Pierre-Paul back to his old form. Unfortunately, he didn’t have anything new to say about either player.
There was some chatter about the QB position. Eli Manning left the Giants’ season finale with a high ankle sprain. Coughlin said Eli was rebounding nicely: “He can get up on his toes and is well on his way,” the coach said.
Manning is coming off his worst season as a pro and Coughlin isn’t buying into the buzz that Eli is declining.
“We’re very confident that Eli will return to the high stature we hold him in. I’ve seen it in his eyes.”
The Giants aren’t totally ignoring the QB position any longer. They have not ruled out drafting and developing prospects, a initiative started last summer with the addition of Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib.
“That’s been a position we’ve felt real good about,” Coughlin told reporters Friday. “Until a year ago, we hadn’t even considered a younger quarterback in the room. Ryan Nassib’s development is important to our team.”