Tom Coughlin visits the New York Giants tomorrow when the Jaguars march into Met-Life Stadium to take on the Giants for the 2018 NFL season opener, at 1 pm. Coughlin is akin to legend in New York Giants lore having won two Super Bowls as head coach of the team in 2007 and 2011. Both Super Bowls were won by defeating the dynastic Patriots and a Hall-of-Fame cast. Those wins placed Coughlin on a never-to-be-toppled pedestal, deservedly, in the history of the New York Giants organization.
Coughlin, currently the Jaguars executive vice president of operations, has built an equally impressive team in Jacksonville during his tenure. Last year his Jaguars had the Steelers’ number, defeating them twice, once during the regular season, and then upsetting Pittsburgh again in the playoffs to face that dynasty that his New York Giants toppled twice. Twice!
New York Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur has tremendous respect and admiration for the legendary coach while erasing some of Coughlin’s footprints. For example, Shurmur recently told The New York Daily News that he was getting rid of “Coughlin Time.” Coughlin had a tradition of setting clocks back 5 minutes earlier to ensure that players and staff reported to practice and meetings five minutes earlier than the normal five-minutes-earlier expectation. Pat Shurmur says he is trying to simplify things for the organization and the players.
New Yorkers can be complicated people. But we like things simple.
Indeed, the Giants have a lot to simplify. Super-hyped rookie running back Saquon Barkley is still untested in the NFL. He had some flashes of sensation during the preseason but spent most of the remainder of the prep games nursing a hamstring. It’s game-time now, baby. Can he take the hits, the pounding, and the pressure and still deliver on the yardage and plays the team is hoping for?
Odell Beckham Jr. just signed one of the highest paying contracts in the NFL and the highest for a wide receiver. Will he deliver on his current value? Expectations for greatness are high and warranted. I mean, if you pay a guy nearly a hundred million dollars to help the team win games, then he better make plays that helps the team win some games. Right?
Thirdly, the offensive line is insecure, and by that I mean the Giants have Ereck Flowers at Right Tackle where he has shown growth during the preseason, but not proficiency. Not yet. One weak spot in the O-line can make a huge difference and a defensive powerhouse like Jacksonville can smell weakness like a Jaguar smells… well, you know what. Time to penetrate!
So, when the Jaguars take the field against the New York Giants tomorrow, will Coughlin be thinking about his accomplishments with the New York Giants’ organization? Will Pat Shurmur be thinking about Coughlin’s accomplishments with the Jaguars and the admirable development he’s done there? Truthfully, it’s unlikely that either man, while respecting the other, will be giving much brain power to their colleague during game time. That would imply a lack of focus which neither Shurmur nor Coughlin are known for.
However. There is a lot of hope, hype and cash riding on the 2018 New York Giants season. Ideally, Shurmur will stick to his game plan: Keep it simple
New Yorkers like simplicity. And winning is good, too.