Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Final Drive

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Final Drive

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - If there were any questions regarding the mood of the Giants on the heels of a three-game losing streak, Tom Coughlin offered up quite the response.

To be certain, no one wanted to miss it Thursday morning.

When asked for his reaction following Dallas' victory over Washington, a Monday night upset that put the Giants in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East, Coughlin stepped back from the lectern and provided his emphatic answer.

The oldest coach in the NFL at 69 years old did three sets of jumping jacks, smiling at the end of his seven-second celebration as laughter from the assembled media filled the auditorium inside the Giants' training center.

"Jumping jacks for every meeting like that, for sure," Coughlin said. "No, it's exciting. Let's face it. It is exciting. I've said many times before, we have to take care of our business, but to be in a circumstance when we are in the hunt is a good and exciting thing and I think the players realize that."

Coughlin drove that point home to the players in similar fashion the previous morning, starting their first team meeting in preparation for Monday's prime time game against the Dolphins in Miami with unexpected enthusiasm and vigor - not to mention some more of his coaching calisthenics.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said the message Coughlin delivered was an obvious and appreciated one: that the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach still believes in these Giants despite the multitude of flaws they have put on display.

"You definitely do [get excited in seeing Coughlin's enthusiasm], especially the way that things have been going on around here," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "And your head coach is still fired up and has that energy and comes out and does that, it just lets you know how he feels about the team.

"And he understands where we're at and where we can go and still can go. So it's always good to see that coming from the head man."

Coughlin continues to implore the Giants (5-7) to leave the plethora of their fourth-quarter failures in the "rearview mirror. …

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