Tom Coughlin ripped into people who think that he's the coach of a good football team on Sunday following a poor performance against the Bears on Saturday night. Much of his diatribe was directed at fans and media members who have sang the praises of the depth and quality of the Giants team.
"We need to focus on improving as a football team and stop listening to all the media telling us where we are good and where we aren’t good, all that stuff," he said. "We have to get our team on track knowing we don’t have a lot of time to do this. I hope it’s a wake-up call. ... It's been very spotty on the field, so obviously it's time for us to get to work and get this the way we want it to be and for people to come to grips with reality and be serious about making these corrections."
Thing is, the idea that the Giants were really deep and really good wasn't a media creation. It was the work of Coughlin, G.M. Jerry Reese and the rest of the organization that created that belief. Signing two defensive linemen to add to an already talented collection of players sends a message that depth equals strength, while constantly singing the praises of your receiving corps while making no attempt to add a veteran standout says that you think you're pretty damn good.
The Giants weren't saying that if we keep our fingers crossed hopefully everything will work out. The players were predicting a division title and the coaches were smugly saying they wouldn't miss a beat without Plaxico Burress. It hasn't worked out that way. The defense is racked by so many injuries that there's no amount of depth that would make the coach comfortable, and the receiving corps has collected a lot more empty platitudes than they have significant catches.
Coughlin's doing the right thing by putting his football team on notice, but you'd be naive to think that he isn't also trying to play the familiar political election gambit of lowering expectations. It's the smart play, but it's also a risky one because of the way it could later be used as an indictment of the way the Giants put together their team this offseason.