Coughlin: Players OK with rules

Despite complaints, coach of Giants won't alter style

September 16, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin rejected suggestions yesterday that he is facing any sort of player mutiny, saying most of the team has adjusted well to his rules.

In a conference call with Washington media, Coughlin said, "The majority of the players understand and they know what the program is about, and I don't think there's been any difficult adjustment at all."

Three Giants players - Carlos Emmons, Barrett Green and Terry Cousin - have filed appeals through the NFL Players Association of $500 fines levied by the coach, who was hired in January. The players were fined for not being early enough for a meeting. Coughlin says meetings start five minutes early.

Coughlin, whose 0-1 team faces the 1-0 Redskins on Sunday at Giants Stadium, said his players have been "fairly receptive" to his demanding system.

"As a matter of fact they were a group that really had predetermined and had expectations of what the program was going to be like when I came here. Everyone wants to make things out to be as if we had these rules. The NFL has a lot of rules, in case anyone hasn't looked at the discipline schedule set by the commissioner," Coughlin said.

The coach said he wouldn't relax his requirements.

"We have certain things that I believe in and that's the way it's going to be, and one of them is obviously to be punctual," he said.

The coach has a defender in Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell, who played for Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars for eight seasons beginning in 1995.

"If there's one guy I could say that gave me a shot in this league, it was Coach Coughlin," Brunell said yesterday. "I was pretty young, so I was happy to be there. We got things on track very early. We were disciplined, we worked hard. We were committed to winning football games and we did that, and that stems from his way of doing things."

Coughlin took over the Jaguars as an expansion team and led them to a 68-60 regular-season record and a 4-4 mark in the playoffs.

Brunell said of the flap in New York: "Whatever it is - perhaps it's blown out of proportion, it probably is to a degree - they're going to show up to play on Sunday."

Kurt Warner, Coughlin's current starting quarterback, said winning would quickly solve the team's issues.

The Giants lost their opener, 31-17, to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday as Donovan McNabb threw four touchdown passes.

Warner told the Washington media that under Coughlin "it's a different situation than a lot of guys have dealt with in the past."

The quarterback said the players are "still getting used to that, still getting oriented with how Coach Coughlin runs his team and how he wants things done. There's a lot of teams that go through that and complain here or there, but if you start winning ... all that changes. Then you forget about all that."

Warner completed 16 of 28 passes for 203 yards last week. Rookie Eli Manning entered the game late and was 3-for-9 for 66 yards.

Coughlin said Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft, could see playing time again soon.

"When there's opportunities, we're going to put the kid in the game and he's going to get some snaps. That was explained to Kurt way back when as well," Coughlin said.

NOTE: Redskins rookie safety Sean Taylor, who had three interceptions in the preseason, is trying to say all the right things about playing only sparingly in the opening win over Tampa Bay. "I've never not been a starter, but it's all right. I'll come with a great team effort and come off the bench and help the team the best way I can," he said yesterday.

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