The 2013 NFL regular season is over and the NFL postseason is finally here. 12 teams are fortunate enough to make the playoffs and make a run at a Super Bowl championship. The New York Giants unfortunately, are not one of those 12 teams and finished off their season yesterday with a 20-6 victory over their NFC East division rival the Washington Redskins.
With the win the Giants finished their 2013 season with a 7-9 record and winning seven out of their last 10 games, after starting out the season 0-6. A season that was filled with disappointments, injuries, and some great individual performances, the Giants gave it everything they had on the field every game day and that's what head coach Tom Coughlin always wants to see.
"From the start to the finish; the last 10 games, we did win seven, and I was proud of the way they stayed together as a team," noted Coughlin. "That was the whole idea. We had good leadership. With regard to that, our captains did a good job and they can't do it alone. The attitude and the approach that this team took, regardless of some of the very difficult Mondays that we've had, was very impressive from the standpoint of maturity and professionalism, and I was proud of that."
After missing the playoffs for the second straight season and finishing with a losing record, many people believe it was a disappointing season for the Giants a team that had aspirations to make back to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. Even with missing the playoffs and having a losing record, coach Coughlin still is proud how his team performed this season and battling back from the tough start to the season they had starting out 0-6.
"If I want to look at it in extremes, the first thing is the 0-6 in my mind and how did that happen," remarked New York's head man. "The rest is the fact that we battled back from that. Too little, too late. Again, when I said I was proud of this team, I am. I know it's not what everybody wanted; I didn't want it, either, but 7-9 is a heck of a lot better than 6-10."
The best way though to end a season is with a win, and that's what the Giants did beating the Redskins on Sunday at MetLife stadium, showing their beloved fans they still had some fight in them.
"I'm proud of our team, not only how they rallied today, but to win the last two ball games," stated Coughlin. "I thought the way we played today – we had a lot of injuries; a lot of things happened out there – obviously not a great day, and the weather too." But everybody hung in there on both sides and battled well. There were a lot of turnovers in the game, naturally, because of the weather, but I liked the way we finished."
As the Giants now head into the offseason and put their focus on getting back to the playoffs in 2014, they will have some bright spots they will be proud of this season. From how well defensive end Justin Tucks has played this season to the emergence of wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, who played outstanding in place of pro bowl wide receiver Victor Cruz, the Giants have see some great improvements in their players from the beginning of the season to the end.
"I was really pleased with him," said Coughlin of Jernigan's performance Sunday. "The way in which he played and the way he finished...He played very well and he responded to the circumstances toward the end of the year. His play time increased and he responded very well to it and I was happy for him. The way he played – he's a tough guy and we saw that down the stretch."
As for his thoughts on how well Tuck played this season, Coughlin was thrilled with the defensive captain's late season ascension.
"He played well all year," admitted Coughlin. "He did what I had wanted him to do and what he wanted to do. He was just an example and he played hard. I thought he was an excellent example for our younger players. He practiced, he played well. He really kept his mouth shut most of the year and did a nice job with that. He responded well and had a very good year."
With the win over the Redskins on Sunday, Coughlin earned his 90th win as a Giants coach in his ninth season as the head coach of Big Blue.