In the weeks since Tom Coughlin became the executive V.P. of football operations in Jacksonville, many have wondered whether Coughlin will be able to refrain from serving essentially as the team’s co-head coach. In a recent visit with PFT Live, someone who once worked for Coughlin in New York explained that Coughlin ultimately will respect the fact that Doug Marrone is the head coach of the team.
“It’s difficult for anybody,” former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “It’s going to be doubly difficult for him, because he likes to get involved. And he has a blueprint that he believes in. And obviously it’s discipline, it’s toughness, it’s hard work, it’s all those things. And I think as he’s been down there and speaking with him, those are things that he’s discerned are absent and in need of being imposed upon those players.”
Gilbride added that Coughlin already has “tried to indoctrinate” the coaching staff into approaching their positions the way that Coughlin would, in an effort to ensure that discipline, toughness, and hard work will prevail.
Still, Gilbride believes that Coughlin ultimately will respect the line between executive and coach.
“The man has remarkable, incredible, almost unsurpassable self-discipline,” Gilbride said. “And with me, I was the offensive coordinator, he knew the way I liked to do things and I could not function well with interference, and he had the ability, despite the fact that it went contrary to his nature, to stay out of it and let me do what I had to do. Right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful, when he wanted to say something he waited until Monday before he said it.
“I know he believes that the head coach is the head coach, and he’s not the head coach anymore. I know it’s a challenge for him, but if anybody can do it, it’ll be him.”
Implicit in that explanation is the chance that no one can do it. Either way, Coughlin will get his chance to prove Gilbride right starting Monday, when Phase One of the offseason program begins in Jacksonville — and when the head coach, but not Coughlin, will begin presiding over meetings with the players.
As long as the head coach shows up at least five minutes early.