The Giants have enough problems this season without factoring in any outside distractions. The team is 3-7 and has lost a lot of talent due to injury on both sides of the ball. A defense that started out the season so strong is struggling to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks and control the run game.
In other words, the last thing the Giants need is a debate over whether or not Tom Coughlin deserves to be the head coach. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what everyone outside the locker room is talking about. On Monday, former Giant Tiki Barber told a Los Angeles radio station that the team was no longer listening to Coughlin and that he should be fired.
When asked about Barber’s comments, quarterback Eli Manning didn’t seem so pleased with the extra headache.
“That was very nice of him,” said Manning with tongue planted in cheek. “It’s good to hear from ole Tiki.”
This is not the first time that Barber has weighed in on his old team. The year after he retired from football, Barber was critical of Manning’s leadership abilities. That season, the Giants won Super Bowl XLII. Although the Giants have some issues on the field in 2014, it’s safe to say that they don’t let a lot of outside distractions get in their heads.
“I just kind of figured hey, everybody has their opinions,” said Manning. “We’ve never let it affect the locker room. It’s not going to affect the players and it’s not going to effect the coaches.”
One thing that hasn’t gone wrong for the Giants in 2014 has been the play of Manning. He’s on pace to throw for more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than he did in 2013 with a completion percentage that he hasn’t topped since 2010. Giants co-owner John Mara recently told Newsday that his quarterback has many good years left in the NFL.
“I felt I was throwing the ball, have been throwing the ball accurately and getting a feel for this offense,” said Manning. “I feel I can still make plays and run around and create plays and make all the throws. I still feel energized every week and work extremely hard and love what I’m doing. I don’t take it for granted at all, and feel I can play at an extremely high level and take over games and do my job.”
Even with Manning showing that he can still play at a high level, the Giants don’t want to take their time building a winner around him. Ownership must decide by the end of the season if Coughlin is the man to lead the team back to the playoffs or if Big Blue is better off with a leadership change.