Coughlin: Back off Eli; Wilson may be out

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
4:35
PM ET
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin moved Monday to ease some of the criticism that's been aimed at quarterback Eli Manning since Manning threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in the Giants' loss to the Eagles on Sunday. A day after seeming to blame the loss on Manning's turnovers and intentional grounding penalties, Coughlin seemed concerned enough about his quarterback's mental state to try and redirect the narrative.

"Criticizing the quarterback for the outcome or for everything there at the end of the game is not right," Coughlin said in a Monday afternoon conference call with reporters. "What should happen, people should shift it to me. The guy is trying the best he can. He's certainly trying to do too much. He knows his team. He knows his responsibility. He's an extremely accountable guy, and he's going to try and do as much as he can. Sometimes, it's not to be done that way."

Coughlin said he spoke Monday with Manning, who leads the NFL with 12 interceptions through five games. The Giants as a team have a league-leading 20 turnovers, a number that goes hand in hand with their 0-5 record.

"I'm not making any excuses either," Coughlin said. "We all know the number of turnovers is in a terrible state. So you know it's rubbed salt on the wound with me every time something like that happens. We did visit today, and he feels bad about the game, just as we all do. We're suffering remorse from opportunity lost. But he's certainly going to get right back up again in preparation -- very short preparation -- for the next opponent. And I know that part will be done properly. And I wish I could bring his spirits back up, but unfortunately it's still very close to yesterday."

The Giants' next game is Thursday night against the Bears in Chicago, which creates a number of issues. One of those is the health status of running back David Wilson, who left Sunday's game after the first quarter with a neck injury and did not return. Coughlin said Wilson would need "a full medical appraisal of exactly what happened, so we'll wait on that. He suffered some sort of tingling, so he was immediately pulled out of the game not to return."

Coughlin didn't say Wilson was being checked or treated for concussion symptoms, but often with a neck injury that is in fact the case. If that's what's going on with Wilson, there's a decent chance he won't be cleared in time to play Thursday. Coughlin was asked if the team might consider signing another running back in that case, since Brandon Jacobs and rookie Michael Cox are all that's left at the position behind Wilson.

"We will see," he said. "If we do, it has to happen quick."

Coughlin also said defensive end Damontre Moore suffered a hamstring injury in the game and that's why he wasn't used more.

And asked whether he would consider making a change in who calls the defensive or offensive plays, Coughlin said only one word: "No." It's unlikely the Giants would make a move with either coordinator until the offseason, if at all. The organization prides itself on continuity in leadership positions and on not overreacting to small sample sizes.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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