Tom Coughlin has transformed into a more laid-back coach over the past few years, since he was dealing mainly with the veteran rosters. This helped him gain the respect of his teams, resulting in two Super Bowl championships.
Earlier in Coughlin’s Giants’ tenure, he was criticized for his stringent style, which rubbed many players the wrong way.
But based on the veteran nature of his teams, the laid-back coaching style has been successful. However, looking at this year’s potential roster infused with youth, Coughlin may have to return – even if just a little bit – to his disciplinarian style.
Even as his career advanced, Coughlin is still by no means a “players’ coach.” He expects his players to follow his rigid schedule and, of course, live by his motto: “Early is on time.”
As the Giants prepare for the 2013 season, they will be without veterans Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley, and potentially Corey Webster, David Diehl and Osi Umenyiora are next on the chopping block.
These players were integral to the Giants’ Super Bowl runs, but Big Blue has been forced to cut its payroll based on its salary cap issues. Assuming that most of the Giants’ available funds will be used on re-signing Victor Cruz and extendings Hakeem Nicks, that doesn’t leave much room to acquire veteran free agents.
As a result, the Giants will rely on the young talent already on the team and any draft picks to make an immediate impact.
Expect Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, Prince Amukamara, Marvin Austin, Jayron Hosley, Adewale Ojomo and Adrian Tracy all to be looked upon as significant contributors on defense. On offense, James Brewer, Adrian Robinson, Rueben Randle and of course David Wilson will be expected to carry a significant load.
All have limited experience and could benefit from having a strict coach.
Now, these young players should not have a feeling of fear towards their head coach, but they have to realize who is the boss right away. When the Giants were built mainly on veterans, those players set the example for the youngsters, which allowed Coughlin to take more of a back seat.
The Giants certainly still have reliable veterans to pave the way, including Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, Mathias Kiwanuka, Chris Snee and Steve Weatherford. They will still be looked upon to provide leadership for the younger players.
If Coughlin continues his laid-back style and the team wins, no one will question his strategy. However, if the team – especially the youngsters – appear undisciplined, maybe a return to his strict style will wake everyone up.
It’s a tough situation for Coughlin. Does he leave his players alone even though many are inexperienced, or does he opt for firmly establishing himself as the field general early on?
If the Giants continue to lose veteran presences, option No. 2 might be in everyone’s best interests.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.