As the final series of post-regular season press conferences wore down for the New York Giants on Monday, a few things became abundantly clear. One was something everyone had expected, in that Tom Coughlin admits to wanting to return as Big Blue head coach in 2014, and that both General Manager Jerry Reese and co-owner John Mara want him to do exactly that.
While that may appear relatively cut and dry, there's no denying that there was an awkward feel to those words and their respective press conferences on Monday. There was an obvious disconnect, and as the hours wore on and reports began to circulate, it became clearer and clearer that although the two sides were in agreement on Coughlin returning, they weren't in agreement over the fate of Kevin Gilbride.
Long before a Star-Ledger report surfaced that indicated Gilbride was likely to be fired as offensive coordinator, the aforementioned John Mara made it abundantly clear that the Giants offense was "broken" and changes were absolutely needed.
"I think our offense is broken right now," Mara said on Monday. "We need to fix that. We need to make some improvements on defense too, but obviously on the offensive side of the ball we've got to improve. We can't go into next season with the same personnel."
General Manager Jerry Reese echoed those statements, saying point blank the team had personnel issues which needed to be addressed.
"There are obviously some personnel issues," Reese said. "We have to have better coaching."
But Tom Coughlin didn't feel the same way Reese and Mara obviously did. Instead, Coughlin did what he always does and he went to bat for his coordinators and assistants, saying he has complete and total faith in them.
"I have great confidence in this group of men that we've had here as a coaching staff," Coughlin said. "I believe in them very strongly."
The question now becomes, does this disagreement on coordinators put the Giants and Coughlin at odds? And if so, does it impact him coming back in 2014 or signing a contract extension to avoid being a lame duck coach next season?
Those are questions that Mara refused to answer on Monday, citing his respect for Coughlin and his staff as the reason why.
"I certainly have my opinion, and I'm sure Jerry has his and Tom has his," Mara said. "I'd like to think that, at the end of the day, we're all going to be on the same page. I don't think it will come to that."
But what if it does? What if Coughlin, who is loyal to a fault, refuses to fire Gilbride? Do the Giants then go over his head and fire his coordinator? If they do, does Coughlin find himself so offended that he opts to walk away? Could this brilliant and successful marriage possibly come to an end over a bridesmaid?
For the first time in years, things do not appear as rosy as they once were. The two sides obviously disagree on certain issues and what happens next will makes for some very awkward situations and could, potentially, start to pave the way for a Tom Coughlin exit.
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