|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
“Like last season, the Giants finished 9-7 but this time it was not enough to make the playoffs. They lost five of their final eight games to lose control of the NFC East and their playoff fate. The Giants were wildly unpredictable, capable of blowing out the Packers and dropping 52 points on the Saints only to score a total of 14 points in critical losses at Atlanta and Baltimore down the stretch with the playoffs on the line. "I'm glad I'm not a betting man, because I would have lost everything," Coughlin said of being shocked by his team's inconsistent play. "Games in which I felt like we were right there and then all of a sudden, it just, for whatever reason& We didn't get off to a good start, we didn't rally back, we didn't stop the other guy at the right time, whatever it might be, I'm sure I'll be hashing these things over all winter." Coughlin said he and his coaching staff were "taking it all apart right now" to find some answers as to why the Giants were capable of dominating the likes of San Francisco only to disappear in road games at Cincinnati, Atlanta and Baltimore. Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese said wide receiver Hakeem Nicks' knee injury had a major impact on Eli Manning and the Giants' offense. Nicks battled through the injury but clearly lacked the explosion he normally had and that impacted the Giants' big-play ability. Coming off his best season in 2011, Manning failed to throw for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns this season for the first time since 2008. Nicks finished with 53 receptions for 692 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. "Nicks has really been the linchpin of our offense," Reese said in an interview with WFAN as well. "When he is out there we are different football team and everybody could tell he was banged up and our opponents could tell he was banged up. It affected our quarterback some." Reese said the Giants still have a nucleus capable of winning it all. He will try to re-sign a few of his key free agents like tackle Will Beatty and tight end Martellus Bennett and add a few more pieces while hoping some key veterans like Justin Tuck and Corey Webster have bounce-back seasons. "Just looking at it from where I am sitting right now, the team is going to look different," Reese said. "But I don't think it is going to be a huge& we don't have to blow the thing up here right now. We can salvage some of the good players that we have. I really don't think we are that far away." Coughlin said missing the playoffs one season after winning it all should humble his players and make them hungry again. "To be the Super Bowl champion and not be in the playoffs," Coughlin said. "If that doesn't bring you down to Earth and create the kind of humility that goes along with getting your nose back to the grindstone, I don't know what does." Of course, Coughlin will continue to wonder through the entire offseason if the hunger and passion was there this past season and whether his team will feel humbled and motivated next season. "Naturally that crosses your mind," Coughlin said. "I never thought that was going to be an issue with our team, I really didn't. But we certainly left a few holes in our schedule."
I can't even describe how it hurts. I don't know what to do. I'm walking around here like a crazy man. I am. I don't know what to do with myself. We shouldn't be doing this right now. The pain of it is almost indescribable.” -- Giants coach Tom Couglin