- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With his team off to an 0-3 start for the first time during his New York tenure, coach Tom Coughlin doesn't believe the Giants gave up last Sunday or have tuned him out.
"It wasn't pretty, I will say that," Coughlin said of a humiliating 38-0 loss to the Panthers. "But I don't believe that they quit."
Coughlin challenged his team's pride and implored the Giants to stick together and not fracture.
"The one thing that I did stress with our team following the game is what we really needed to do at this point in time is make sure that we stick together," Coughlin said Monday. "That we stay together ... that we are one, that we don't finger point, we don't blame anybody."
Former Giants great Carl Banks said on WFAN radio on Monday that he thought it was "scary" at how the Giants showed little-to-no emotion and "just took it" during the 38-0 beatdown. Coughlin's "I don't believe that they quit" remark came in response to a question about Banks' analysis.
The former Giants linebacker also believes the Giants "don't like each other. They're not willing to fight for each other." Dating back to last season, the Giants have lost five of their last six games, allowing an average of 36.4 points per game.
When asked if he had seen any of what Banks said, Coughlin replied, "No."
The Giants certainly looked like a team that unraveled in Carolina. Quarterback Eli Manning was under siege from the start and was sacked seven times -- six coming in the first half. The Giants passed for just 119 yards and rushed for only 60. They were outgained 402-150 in net yards.
The Giants, who have surrendered a league-worst 115 points in three games, held a players-only meeting, but it is not uncommon for the players to hold debriefing sessions on Mondays to air concerns and review what went wrong in games.
"We actually started that two years ago when we went through a no-win November," linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. "It proved to be really helpful for us.
"This team is not going to break apart. We are not going to jump on anybody. I am not going to talk about the offense, I know the offense is not going to talk about the defensive effort, special teams is going to stay together."
The Giants are off to their worst start since 1996, when Dan Reeves' team opened with three losses en route to a 6-10 season.
Typically under Coughlin, the Giants get off to strong starts only to suffer through midseason malaise. Now the Giants are in their biggest hole to start a season during the Manning era.
The typically calm Manning said he will see whether he has to do something out of character to spark the team and turn things around. But he said the bottom line is that the team has to start playing better, no matter how much talking and brainstorming the players do.
"Those things can be good," Manning said of players-only meetings. "You can talk and we can meet all we want. We got to play better. ... Got to do a lot of things better than what we are doing right now. That is what it is going to come down to: our performance."
Coughlin would not discount making lineup changes. When asked whether he will make any switches to the offensive line, which has struggled badly, the coach said, "We'll see." He indicated that center David Baas and right guard Chris Snee -- both of whom underwent surgeries in the offseason -- are battling issues and are not healthy.
"Your team is your team," he said.
Asked if the Giants have the personnel on the roster to turn things around, Coughlin said, "We are certainly going to find out.
"[The Giants will] go to whatever extreme we have to to try to uncover people that can help us win," he said. "I think we are putting them in the right position right now to be able to perform and win. It hasn't happened yet."
"I am not saying anything [negative] about personnel," he added. "I am saying that the personnel here has got to play better."
"Ours has always been, 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,'" Coughlin said of the coaching staff's approach to a crisis. "Basically the way we've tried to do it is to be more focused ourselves, more driven and try to transfer those objectives directly to our players ... and we will continue to do that."
1dEric D. Williams