Between injuries, contract holdouts and limited practice time, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin isn't exactly a happy camper. With Victor Cruz's contract status still in limbo, Big Blue's head honcho expressed a level of concern, but is still holding out hope that his top receiver will sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later.
"I've been optimistic since day one and it hasn't gotten me anywhere, has it?," noted Coughlin on Cruz returning with the team. "I just continue to be that way. The clock is running. The calendar dates are going by. This is something that at least we could have benefitted by, if nothing else, this minicamp. But you have to realize that there is no contract at this time. So without a contract, he's not going to be here."
While Cruz was a no-show on Tuesday, wideout Hakeem Nicks attended New York's first day of minicamp, but was limited during the practice sessions. Nicks missed all of Giants' OTAs as speculation grew that he was preparing for a contract holdout in advance of the final year of his five-year, $12. 54 million deal.
"He's definitely not in tune with where we are," mentioned Coughlin. "We've had nine OTAs and we've thrown a lot at him. He's just had one meeting. If he's around, he'll pick it up quick. He'll get it fast."
Coughlin was not pleased with Nicks' unexcused absence from OTAs and met with him one-on-one to settle their issues.
"I feel where he was coming from on that," said Nicks of Coughlin's frustration with a lack of communication on Hakeem's part. "I could have done a better job at reaching out, but we finally got to talk, so we got things straight on that end. Coach Coughlin, that's my guy, so I think that relationship can't go sour."
Quarterback Eli Manning has been without his top two receiving targets for the entirety of OTAs, much to the Chagrin of his head coach.
"I would hope that they would do some work between now and then together so that they would make up for some lost time and one thing I did mention to him is you've got to kind of go out in the backyard like you did when you were a kid with the quarterback and you guys get on the same page," said Coughlin of Manning and Nicks developing chemistry in advance of training camp.
Aside from the contract issues, Big Blue's major injury concern revolves around Jason Pierre-Paul's surgically repaired back. New York's stud defensive end is the key impetus for its ferocious pass-rush.
He's back and he's here, but he's in the process of getting to the point where he can do some things and I know that probably for the first three or four weeks he's not going to be doing much.
On a positive note, Coughlin was impressed by the Giants' rookie class and their ability to absorb the playbook and adjust quickly to the rigors of the NFL.
"They're definitely getting better, said Coughlin of the rookies." They're definitely getting more used to the routine. It's just as more stuff gets thrown at them… It might be one step forward and two back. They're getting there though. It's a good impressive group right now."