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It's Time for the Giants to Take Their Own Advice

Whatever peace the Giants have to make with 2012 should be made in silence

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It's a good thing talk is cheap or else Coughlin would be in some serious debt.

    It's a rare day when it seems like a good idea for the Giants to follow the Jets' lead, but that's just where we are. 

    The Jets have decided to go radio silent since the end of the regular season, a decision that has brought them nothing but ridicule from a vengeful media corps that's gone so far as to send paparazzi to the Bahamas to see what kind of tattoos Rex Ryan is sporting on his arm. Perhaps Tom Coughlin has something even more embarrassing than his wife in an Eli Manning jersey on his person because the man who once loved to say that talk is cheap has a problem keeping his mouth shut. 

    Coughlin did an extended interview with Mike Francesca on WFAN Thursday in which he said that missing the playoffs was an "indescribable" before proceeding to talk about it for more than an hour. It's hard to imagine why the feeling would be so hard to put into words for a coach who has missed the playoffs in three of the last four years, but it's obviously not from a lack of trying. 

    Much of what Coughlin had to say came back to the well-worn befuddlement about the team's performances that he's been selling for the last three weeks, something that's started to come across as a coach who wasn't quite on the same page with his team this season. The writing was on the wall for months -- the really bad Giants losses this season weren't the blowouts to the Falcons or Ravens, but the close losses to the Eagles and Redskins because those revealed correctable problems at a point when something could still be done -- and the Giants never even tried to adjust what they were doing to correct the obvious flaws that teams continually exploited. 

    Coughlin kept going back to injured players like Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks instead of letting rookies Rueben Randle and David Wilson, whose first game fumble was treated like he did it on purpose instead of shrugged off like the poor play of veterans, learn on the job. The defense kept doing the same thing and expecting different results, which some people use as the definition of insanity, while the coaching staff didn't bother preaching urgency until it was too late. 

    This isn't all on Coughlin. General manager Jerry Reese decided to say this week that it probably would have been a good idea to rest Nicks long enough for him to actually heal as if he were the first person to ever think of not sending players out onto the field when they are clearly shells of who they are when healthy. 

    When you contrast that to the way the Giants talked about Nicks, Bradshaw and other injured players -- variations on them being tough-minded enough to overcome physical ailments -- it merely adds to the sense that the Giants brass just sat back and watched this season secure in the false belief that things just go their way because of the name of the franchise. The truth is that things went their way last season because of hard work and fevered dedication that simply wasn't in evidence this year. 

    Perhaps that's an inevitablity after winning a Super Bowl, but it doesn't do anyone much good to keep making it obvious that the effort level (both physical and mental) was lacking during the regular season. That's all the Giants are doing by continuing to talk about what went wrong in 2012 when they should be focused only on 2013. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.