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Friday, March 21, 2014
Giants Friday 400: You pick the topic

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

I'd love to tell you this was some kind of brilliant new idea for social media outreach, but the fact of the matter is I was stuck for a topic this Friday afternoon. So at 1:40, I told my Twitter followers that I'd do a 400-word post on the best topic suggestion I got from them in the next five minutes. I got more than 50 suggestions, which is great, and it's tough to pick just one. So what I've decided to do, since this is a new thing and I can make the rules, is to round up several suggestions that kind of hit on one topic and write my 400 words off of those. Here are the winners. The first guy is famous.

 

So those 400 (or so) words start now:

I remember dealing with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a bit when I was the NFC East blogger and he was with the Eagles. And I've spoken with people who were around him and the Eagles those years. Not a bad guy by any means, but definitely marches to his own drummer. Some will tell you it can be a challenge to keep his attention. And sure, that doesn't sound like something that Giants head coach Tom Coughlin would handle well.

But when it comes to players, I think Coughlin has shown he's pretty adaptable. Look at the case of Antrel Rolle, who clashed severely with Coughlin during the early part of his time with the Giants, but is now a respected team captain who has the coach's trust as a locker-room leader. That relationship evolved because of the willingness and ability of both men to communicate with each other about what was important to them. Rolle becomes a key figure in this current situation. He and Rodgers-Cromartie were teammates in Arizona, and Giants people believe that having Rolle on the team will be key to whatever maturation process remains for Rodgers-Cromartie at this point in his career. I'm sure they'll put Rodgers-Cromartie's locker next to Rolle and all of that.

The Trindon Holliday reference in the comment above is, I believe, a reference to Holliday's issues with fumbling, which Coughlin (and really every other coach) hates like poison. The high-profile case of David Wilson in 2013 shows that Coughlin will bench a player who fumbles even if it hurts the player's confidence and the team's short-term chances of winning. He believes the long-term benefits of the lesson outweigh the short-term detriment, and by the way the fumbling itself is a pretty serious short-term detriment in and of itself.

But while he did bench Wilson, Coughlin didn't stop coaching him. The Giants worked him hard in practice to help him overcome the problem so he could return to the lineup and help them win, and Wilson was playing very well at the time of his injury. Coughlin may get annoyed with a player from time to time, but when he does he almost always finds a way to (a) keep it in-house and (b) direct the issue toward improvement.

Coughlin correctly believes his job as a coach is first to know his players as well as he can and then coach them according to what works best with each guy. His task will be significant this year, as the Giants are going to have a staggering number of new faces. But especially in the case of Rodgers-Cromartie, I believe the coach will be ahead of the game in dealing with whatever issues arise in the most productive way possible.