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Giants Players Finally Stick Up for Tom Coughlin

Players want blame to be on them for team's slide

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    There's no question that Sunday's game against the Redskins means more to Tom Coughlin than any other member of the Giants.

    Giants players have gotten that message and spent Wednesday sticking up for the man who gesticulates wildly on the sideline while they are playing games. Chris Snee called talk about Coughlin being fired "absurd," although you have to take into account the fact that Snee is married to Coughlin's daughter. No man wants to go home to an unhappy wife, especially if there's any way that she can use that unhappiness to make your life miserable. Snee would like Coughlin to coach forever.

    Keith Bulluck and Antrel Rolle threw their support behind the head coach, so did Barry Cofield and Rich Seubert during the locker room lovefest. Most of us would agree that the last thing we want from the Giants at this point is any kind of talk whatsoever. After a long season hearing them tell us how good they are and failing to back up guarantees of victories, you'd think simple humility would kick in and stop players from making their cases with their mouths instead of their play.

    That's the problem with hearing all this outpouring for Coughlin. If these players, who know what happens to coaches of teams that underperform the way the Giants have underperformed the last three years, really care about Coughlin, why the hell have they refused to heed his instructions on the field the last two weeks? 

    No one would argue that the players should avoid a great deal of blame, but if this is a talented team -- and it is -- than surely the inability to get them to play up to their ability has to fall onto the coach as well. When you hear underachievers talk about how much they love their coach, the first thought is that they rather enjoy the fact that they aren't being forced to account for their shortcomings. Just think about the Cowboys under Wade Phillips, although that really doesn't feel like a strong comparison for Coughlin. 

    The other thought is that if these players love Coughlin so much and claim to be giving him their full effort, then maybe the coach doesn't matter all that much. That flies in the face of everything we've been told on countless broadcasts that glorify the men on the sideline, but it doesn't really shake any great faith to the core to suggest that those in the booth might be incorrect.

    Whichever route you want to follow, hearing Coughlin's players sing his praises on Wednesday is far less convincing than the way they throw him under the bus on Sunday.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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