EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese are getting one more chance to turn around the New York Giants — or else.
Co-owner John Mara announced Tuesday that Coughlin and Reese will be back in 2015 despite an “embarrassing” 6-10 record, two straight losing seasons, and missing the playoffs five of the past six years.
Of course, in the one season the Giants made the playoffs, 2011, they won the championship.
Mara’s decision to retain both Coughlin and Reese did not come as a surprise.
Mara stressed that everyone in the organization will be on the spot next season, saying he felt like firing everyone after a loss at Jacksonville in November. He didn’t, and the play of the team’s young players, notably rookie Odell Beckham Jr., and the team’s refusal to quit down the stretch in a season marred by injuries make him optimistic about next season.
It’s optimism tempered by the frustration of repeated failure.
“I don’t think that is an unfair statement,” Mara said when asked if winning was a must next season.
Even Coughlin’s two Super Bowl wins in 2008 and ’12 won’t save him.
“Right now I think Tom gives us the best chance to win going forward,” Mara said.
What’s interesting is that Mara did not give Coughlin an extension on a contract that runs through 2015. The Giants typically have not had head coaches work as lame ducks.
Mara said he would discuss it with the 68-year-old Coughlin, who later joked he would like a 10-year extension.
“We are here to win, that’s what this thing is about, the competitiveness of winning,” Coughlin said. “I’m as sick and disappointed as anybody in the last few years. But how are you going to do anything about it other than fight and swing and get back out there and try harder. What else are you going to do? Crawl in a corner? No. I am not going to do that.”
The idea of being in a win-or-else situation made Coughlin laugh, saying that’s his approach to every season.
“Why would you do it for any other reason?” Coughlin said. “You’re supposed to win.”
This isn’t the first time Coughlin’s job has been in jeopardy, and each time he turned things around.
Coughlin would not say how much longer he wants to coach, saying his health and that of his wife, Judy, might decide that issue.
The Giants’ decision to stand pat came a day after the Jets — who share ownership of MetLife Stadium with the Giants — fired coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.
“I do think we are on the right track,” said Reese, who has had two good draft classes after a couple of poor ones. “I do think we can have a good football team going into next season.
The Giants’ new West Coast offense made significant strides, finishing 10th in the league under new coordinator Ben McAdoo. Eli Manning finished with 30 TD passes and 14 interceptions, and Beckham wowed the league with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. The defense, however, was ranked 30th and special teams struggled, particularly on covering punt returns.
That has put the status of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and special teams counterpart Tom Quinn in doubt although their unit felt the effects of 22 players being placed on injured reserve.
While Mara might make suggestions, he said Coughlin will decide on any changes to the coaching staff.
“He knows his legacy is on the line,” Mara said. “He doesn’t want three losing seasons in a row.”
Reese, who also has been under fire, has had two very good draft classes, and Mara said he needs another.
“I heard Tom say every year is a win all,” Reese said. “You win Super Bowls, it’s what have you done for me lately? Here you have to continue to win. It’s hard to do in this business because the league is built with cycles. If you win, you get penalized for winning, so you have to fall back and pick last in the draft. You lose coaches. That’s how the cycle goes.
“Our job is to beat the system. That’s what we pride ourselves on, and staying on top and staying relevant.”
The Giants haven’t done that lately, so next year will be a little more important.
Mara said he would like to have defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Antrel Rolle back next season, but only if the free agents can be signed for the right price. He added that the Giants are considering using a franchise tag on Pierre-Paul.
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