EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Winning two games in a row late in the season has not shed any light on whether Tom Coughlin will be returning as coach of the New York Giants.
The 68-year-old Coughlin said Dec. 15 that he has not had talks with management about his future, saying it will be dealt with at the appropriate time.
Coughlin’s focus for now is trying to make sure the Giants (5-9) finish the regular season well. They are on the road to face the Rams this weekend and finish at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“You always want to be on a positive note,” Coughlin said. “You would like everything to be with the arrow going up. We have talked an awful lot about improvement and ascending and it is the time of the year to do those things.
“The number of young people that are getting opportunities and having a chance to play, that all leads to thoughts about the future.”
After missing the playoffs the past three seasons and making it once since 2009, Coughlin’s future is uncertain despite leading New York to two Super Bowl titles since taking over in 2004. He has a year left on his contract, but the past two seasons have been dismal.
Coughlin refused to discuss his future after a loss to Jacksonville (2-12) two weeks ago sent the Giants to their seventh straight loss. He gave a little insight when he said he had not spoken with co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch about his job.
“My concern is with our team getting ready to play the St. Louis Rams, and I am sure that will be dealt with at the right time,” Coughlin said.
While the failure to make the postseason in recent years is working against Coughlin, a reason for not making a change might be the job he has done developing rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is in the running for the NFL’s top rookie.
The 12th pick overall in the draft had another monster game on Dec. 14, catching three touchdowns and 12 passes overall for 143 yards in a 24-13 win over the Redskins.
“He wants to be there, he wants to play, he is excited about the opportunity, he is a very competitive young man,” Coughlin said of Beckham, who had a fourth TD catch wiped out by a penalty.
Despite missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury, Beckham has 71 catches for 972 yards, with the yardage being a team record for a rookie. His nine touchdown catches lead the team and they are the highest total by a Giants’ rookie since Bill Swiacki set the record with 10 in 1948.
Coughlin refused to say whether Beckham was the best rookie he has coached.
“He certainly has made a tremendous mark,” the coach said. “Again, there are a lot of things that prevail here. You want to finish the season strong, you want to come back and have another one; you have to avoid having all the things that can bring you down. We are very excited to have him.”
Whether Coughlin gets the chance to coach him again remains to be seen.
(TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer)