Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Jun 2007

Coughlin Wants Less Talk, More Wins

This week, Tom Coughlin told his team to quit talking so much and start playing football. "What we would really like to do ... is do our playing on the field and let our play do the talking.... Not spend so much time trying to explain who we are, where we are. Let's just play the game." Then Coughlin added, "Talk is cheap.� I agree. Seriously, is there a scenario where he keeps his job after the season? (Free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 14 Jun 2007

44 comments, Last at 18 Jun 2007, 1:53pm by Joe T.


by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:46am

Man, I'm going to miss Coughlin's Giants visiting Seattle. Those were some of the most hilariously epic implosions I've seen. No doubt a sentiment enjoyed around the NFL. Most teams win or lose, the Giants would find ways to lose that were spectacular and original; being near all that theater really rubbed off.

But for Coughlin to keep his job he'll have to pull out at least a playoff win. Which implies they solve the LT problem and Brandon Jacobs becomes Larry Johnson.

by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:47am

Any scenario in which Coughlin keeps his job would have to involve the Phildelphia Eagles team plane crash landing on the freeway on top of the Dallas Cowboys team bus.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:47am

I can't wait for the day when a coach says he wants more talk and fewer wins...

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:49am


I'd go so far as to say that the Redskins team would have to be on the tarmac in shrapnel range as well. The Giants are the worst team in the NFC East on paper IMO.

by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 11:03am

Giants Fans Want Less Coughlin, More Wins

by Spike (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 11:08am

I nominate the NYG bye (week 9) as Coughlin's over-under. The Giants travel to London in week 8 to play the Fish. If they have 3 or fewer wins at that point, management may tell him to stay in Europe a few extra weeks...

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 11:26am


I agree. I think the Redskins can at least beat the Giants in the division.

I personally expect the Giants to have a terrible season. 6-10/5-11 terrible.

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 11:27am


A Giants implosion and the resulting Tom Coughlin explosion and sacking should leave it's mark on London. For sheer entertainment value, Here's hoping.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 11:30am

If the Giants have decent injury luck and the new coordinators aren't as embarrassingly awful as their predecessors, Coughlin has a chance to keep his job. Personally, I think he should've been fired for hiring and trusting Hufnagle & Lewis in the first place, but management decided to give him a second chance, and I think they mean it.

Talent-wise, the NFCE is still a bottleneck. The winner will be decided by luck and injuries. If I had to bet right now, I'd say that the Eagles are slightly ahead of the pack (pending McNabb's health), and the Skins are slightly behind it. But one high ankle sprain to the wrong guy in training camp could completely alter the calculus.

by AmbiantDonkey (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:00pm

June is an odd time to talk about doing your talking on the field. Does he know that they don't take the field for another 3 months.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:05pm

Talent-wise, the NFCE is still a bottleneck. The winner will be decided by luck and injuries.

I wouldn't say that - the pack separated a bit last year. The Giants lost their starting running back and one of their leading receivers (same person, obviously). The Cowboys lost coaches, and have a starting QB who hasn't started a full year yet. Redskins have a starting QB who hasn't started a full year yet.

The fact that Romo and Campbell both looked decent last year is immaterial - it's got to be considered a big question mark how they can hold up to a full season at QB.

Yes, I'm a bit biased, but no, that doesn't change anything - in my mind, the leader in the NFC East will likely be determined in preseason - if McNabb's back, and fine, in preseason, it's Philly by a clear margin. That's the only question mark they have, and if the answer is "McNabb is fine," then they've got a clear advantage over the whole season.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:06pm

As an Eagles fan, it's always entertaining to watch Coughlin look like he's going to stroke out at any second. Number 8, I agree with you.

by Riceloft (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:21pm

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere else, but..

Amazon is taking pre-orders for PFP2007.

by dev (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:34pm

I can't imagine Coughlin keeping his job, but I thought he would have been fired last year, so how knows what the Giants are thinking.

It should be obvious to anyone that Coughlin is only known as a disciplinarian because he has to use so much discipline. A coach truly in control of his team doesn't need that.

Too bad the Giants will have to play in spite of their HC.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:39pm

re: 13

BTW, if that's the actual cover on the top left corner of the page... why is the green brighter than the previous, "preview" cover?

The new design kicks a**, though.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 1:15pm

Re 11:

He said talent wise. Now I would agree that the Cowboys and Eagles are very similar in talent (unless the Cowboy receivers start to feel their age very quickly), but the Eagles are better coached. Really, I think it all depends on if Mcnabb is healthy for the last 4 games of the season and the playoffs. If he is, the Eagles are a Superbowl competitor, if he isn't, they might not make the playoffs.

by John Madden (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 1:15pm

The best team in the NFC East will be determined by whoever has the most wins after 17 weeks.

by Kyle S. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 1:47pm

Translation: You players shut the f*** up! I'll do the talking.

by Rob (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 2:33pm

From the nfl.com coverage:

"Barber did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on Coughlin's desire to have the players talk less."

How did someone write this with a straight face?

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 2:36pm

I don't think it's 4 teams close to each other this year in the NFCE, talent wise. I think the Eagles are head and shoulders better than every other team in that division, and if McNabb doesn't get hurt they should win the division by more than a couple games.

The Redskins still have no depth still, and having 2 draft picks didn't help matters. They have the most expensive safety duo in the game, but no CBs to speak of - an aging Shaun Springs and then everyone else. Offensively, they're still Santana Moss or bust.

The Giants are on a lame duck coach, lost their starting LT, their starting RB. Strahan is another year older, the secondary is still awful, and Eli still is shaky and has a very bad group of receivers (1st year WRs almost always are non-factors). The Giants are even more of a paper thin team than the Redskins. If Eli, Brandon Jacobs, or Plaxico Burress go down, the offense will completely die.

The Cowboys, Tony Romo can still be decent, but his early success is looking more and more "I'm a QB who nobody had film on" than anything else - as the season progressed, he looked worse and worse. TO had sort of a non-year last year and I don't see why he'll bounce back. This is still clearly the second most talented team in the division, and they have a solid D and some good O parts (big Marion Barber fan), but I just don't think they're as talented as the Eagles.

The Eagles, when healthy, are the best team in the NFC.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 2:37pm


Personal belief - They kept him for a year because they didn't like last years Head Coach candidate crop. Instead of being a year into a new coaches tenure when coaches they really want come along, they'll keep Coughlin and make a grab at Cowher next year.

I think the Buccaneers are doing the exact same thing.

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 2:56pm

I wonder when one of the Ryan brothers will get a shot as head coach.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 3:24pm

Tom: do you think Buddy Ryan's egocentric, eccentric implosions as a head coach are hurting his sons' chances?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 3:53pm

Yeah, Cowher is really going to be able to push the envelope next year, especially if the Cowboys or Chargers fall well short of expectations. The Cowboys aren't all that good, but if they miss the playoffs in the NFC, Jones might panic, and the AFC is good enough where a very good team could slip up and miss the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

by coldbikemessenger, fan favorite! (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 4:24pm

Romo is awesome!!!

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 5:05pm

Re 23:

I don't know. I would hope owners and general managers would be wiser than that. I mean hiring Turner over either Ryan because their dad has a huge ego? It seems a bit ridiculous to me.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 5:29pm

Alternative ending to the Sopranos: Tony and the crew see Coughlin in a restaurant, and they all kill themselves.

by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 6:13pm

Cowher, by the way, has been quoted (I'm far too lazy to dig out a source, so you'll have to take my word for it) saying he's quite enjoying being out of the game and might stay "retired", or at least for some time. He's also said he's definitely not getting back into the game before his youngest daughter has finished HS, which is 2008 not 2007. Of course, if Cowher were intending to come back he'd say all of this stuff to increase his value, so make of it what you will.

I feel whilst we're awarding head coaching jobs for next season that somebody should mention that Marty Schottenheimer's still a free agent. Then again, he's 63, which I can see putting off many teams.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 6:38pm

Can we please have a general rule to avoid discussion of the end of the Sopranos. This is a plea on behalf of the FO community that live outside the US and haven't seen any of the last series yet.

by Are-Tee (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 6:59pm

Maybe the Jets should eliminate their Pete Kendall problem by trading him to the Giants.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 9:10pm

#29 I support you wholeheartedly, although for a different reason: I'm just sick of people talking about it period.

#14 I'm with you, in fact I'd have bet money on Coughlin being fired after last season, if I ever bet on anything which I don't precisely because of stuff like Coughlin keeping his job.

If there's one thing that annoys me BTW, it's people who can't stop talking about how talk is cheap and people should do it less.

Gotta love Coughlin's priceless expressions of sheer and utter helpless bewilderment along with the classic arms spread wide pose he's had since Jacksonville whenever anything in a game goes against his team. Kind of ruins his tough guy image every time I see that. Which is every other game he coaches.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:01pm

If McNabb plays 16 games, no other team has a chance. I live in DC, so I follow the division pretty closely.

As for the best pick to take the division from the Eagles, I'm going to surprise some people and go with the much-maligned Redskins. They will be much better than many expect. They get a pretty rap for their offseason strategies, some of which are pretty stupid. But if you just look at the talent level on the team, they do have a pretty decent shot at the division title.

First of all, let's make it clear that they weren't as far behind the rest of the East as they looked last year. They scraped together 6.8 estimated wins, which isn't far off from Dallas's 8.6 or New York's 9.0. Really, it was the Eagles and the field last year.

Now let's look at the Redskins piece by piece. They'll continue to have an excellent rushing attack. Their run blocking is very good, allowing both Clinton Portis and LaDell Betts to be successful. (7.6% and 7.2% DVOA, respectively.)

Santana Moss will continue to be pretty good, and the rest of the receivers will continue to be mediocre. Jason Campbell should develop just fine, because as Gil Brandt David Lewin has discovered, his high completion percentage and games started suggest he'll be a very good NFL QB. The offense was above-average last year, and it should probably get a little bit better with a healthy Portis and a more experienced Campbell.

Really, the Redskins' problem last year was their monstrously bad defense. They aren't particularly infamous for having a poor defense, like the Texans, so people aren't as aware of it. But their pass defense was so remarkably abysmal that they were last in defensive DVOA despite an average rush defense. Their pass DVOA on defense was 35.7%. To give you an idea of how bad that is, it would make Andrew Walter look like an average QB, or make David Carr look like Drew Brees.

Ditching Archuleta and drafting Landry sound like good ways to approach the problem, although they clearly have more work to do on defense.

But the most convincing argument I can make is from the numbers. They were 4th in defensive DVOA in 2005, and then 32nd in 2006. Sure, that sucks. But generally when a team or a player has two extreme performances back to back, the next year they fall somewhere in the middle. Some examples of the pattern with respect to defense: The 2004-2006 Bills ranked 1st, 26th, and 19th in defense those three years. The 2004-2006 Patriots ranked 6th, 27th, and 8th.

The Redskins have no forseeable reason to decline on offense, and they've got nowhere to go but up on defense, and they had 6.8 estimated wins last year. I think 9-7 is a reasonable mean projection for them, and with a little bit of luck they could take the division.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2007 - 10:04pm

Hmm, there should have been an artful strikethrough through Gil Brandt's name, and it showed up in the preview, but it doesn't seem to be showing up in the thread. I guess I needed to use the "strike" html tag instead of the "s" tag.

by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 4:59am

Reading the title, I thought he was going to coach the Seahawks.

by bugstr8 (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 10:07am

32: I completely thought you were going to sign that post RedskinJoe. I must have missed the Post article where it was reported that the Potomac had begun to run Kool-Aide.

by The Interrupting Sheep (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 10:22am

I think one of the Ryan brothers should have been hired because of who their dad is. Specifically, by the Giants, as you just know that Kevin Gilbride is going to need punched at some point this year.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 11:22am

#32 - Not bad analysis. I suspect most people are critical of the Redskins because they dislike them, or Dan Snyder, or some other subjective or emotional reason, but there is usually very little objective analysis.

Most people just pass judgment without taking the time to investigate why things are.

There is some speculation that G. Williams is going to implement cover-1 defense this season. If thats the case, then they made better personnel moves than they are being credited for.

Sure, the o-line is on average older than every other team's, but I'm not terribly concerned. Their running game is diverse and dynamic enough that they can manage changes in the o-line (if necessary due to injury/fatigue) as the season progresses. They have a solid full back to supplement the running game and both running backs are able pass catchers in the flat. Jason Campbell is not a statue in the pocket either, so it helps matters if you fear that your line might get a little shaky later on.

Their d-line was solid in '05 and sub-par in '06, with the only major change the addition of a FA DE who, by most accounts, played only average all season, but came on stronger towards the end. The D-line wasn't helped by the porous secondary, I suspect improving the secondary will go a long way to reinforcing the D-line.

by Tom (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 12:35pm

The Redskins still don't have a pass rush, and only one good corner who's aging.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 1:45pm

#32: Age killed the Redskins on defense in 2006. It'll likely kill them again - their depth problems are just getting worse the longer they hang on to Griffin and Daniels without having a replacement for either of them.

But in addition, Campbell's a new QB, and he hasn't started a full season yet. It's asking a whole lot out of him to be able to keep up a high level of play throughout the year.

I think you're about right, though - the Redskins should be basically somewhere between 6-9 wins this year. That might win them the division, if Philly falls apart.

There is some speculation that G. Williams is going to implement cover-1 defense this season.

If that's the case, the Redskins are going to get torched repeatedly, all season long. Cover-1 means only one safety deep, usually man coverage. The NFC East is not the division you want to be going Cover 1 in. The Redskins' opponents averaged 13 40-yard passes/year - I'm pretty sure that's the highest average in the league for division opponents.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 3:03pm

Pat - you keep beating the same dead horse about age on the O-line and D-line. You got some numbers?

Starting D-lines
Players / Exp (in years)
DE - Umenyiora - 4
DE - Strahan - 12
DT - Robbins - 8
DT - Cofield - 1
Avg - 6.25

DE - Howard - 7
DE - Kearse - 8
DT - Bunkley - 1
DT - Patterson - 2
Avg - 4.5

DE - Daniels - 11
DE - Carter - 6
DT - Griffin - 7
DT - Golston - 1
Avg - 6.25

Excluding Dallas since they play a 3-4. However, if you are interested, both DE's are very young, and the starting NT is an 11 year vet.

RT - Jansen - 7
RG - Thomas - 8
C - Rabach - 5
LG - Wade - 7
LT - Samuels - 7
Avg - 6.8

Philly :
RT - Runyan - 9
RG - Andrews - 3
C- Jackson - 3
LG - Herremans - 2
LT - Thomas - 9
Avg - 5.2

RT - Mackenzie - 6
RG - Snee - 3
C - O' Hara - 7
LG - Seubert - 6
LT - Diehl - 4
Avg - 5.2

RT - Columbo - 5
RG - Davis - 6
C - Gurode - 5
LG - Kosier - 5
LT - Adams - 9
Avg - 6

Interestingly, some teams get older to the outside. I would normally think you want your most athletic guys at the the tackles, surely 3 year players are more athletic than 9 year vets, but thats how they line up in Philly.

Age is not the only factor. In his prime Strahan was the best DE in the NFCE, and even after some serious mileage he is still probably a better DE than most of them in the NFCE.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 6:08pm

I'm shocked that anyone thinks the Redskins are better than the Giants at this point. Campbell is still an extreme work in progress and how will they stop the run any better than they did last year?

I think the Giants will do a lot better than people think. That could be 8-9 wins considering how many people have kicked dirt on them already. The schedule looks to be MUCH easier... I don't anticipate them playing 8 games against playoff teams and 3 more against teams that just miss out in 2007. Hopefully, they will stay relatively healthy. I think the LT position has been VERY OVERRATED... when did Luke Petitgout become Anthony Munoz? The team played well offensively the 2 weeks Diehl played at LT and Bob "Headbutt" Whitfield is officially retired (thank GOD). I have a lot of confidence in Brandon Jacobs and the players seem to based on their comments. The ENTIRE key to the team is Eli. Does he finally become consistent or will continue to be up and down?

I don't think the Cowboys are any better than they were last season. The Eagles are obviously the team to beat.

I think Coughlin needs to SHUT UP AND COACH. He barely knows how to do that.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 7:25pm

#40: Cole is starting, not Howard, as you can see from the depth chart on the Eagles webpage.

Pat - you keep beating the same dead horse about age on the O-line and D-line. You got some numbers?

I did it last year. The difference between the Giants and the Redskins? The Giants have Strahan's replacement.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/15/2007 - 7:28pm

Interestingly, some teams get older to the outside. I would normally think you want your most athletic guys at the the tackles, surely 3 year players are more athletic than 9 year vets, but thats how they line up in Philly.

Oh, God, no way. Tackles need to pass protect, which is more about technical skill than athleticism.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 06/18/2007 - 1:53pm

I think you are over-simplifying the entire thing. The ages of tackles vs interior linemen varies so much that I cannot (nor did) say its indicative of a trend. I was merely making an observation, based to a great degree on your assumption that age matters more than experience or technical proficiency. However, if technical skill is the determining variable, then age is less significant than you initially contended. Increasing age no doubt correlates to a decline in playing ability, but the degree to which it does depends on a host of factors.

Whether age is more or less significant, my only point is to show that the WAS O- & D-line ages are not as extreme as you are making out. I didn't work out the league mean, but I suspect the O-line is still within 1 standard deviation of the league average, and the D-line might possibly be just inside the 2nd standard deviation.

The dynamics of football are too complex to insist on a handful of simplified assumptions.