**1. The goal is for JPP to be a Giant.
**Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who enters his sixth NFL season after the Giants picked him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 10.
"We are convinced that we want him back, without a doubt," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "And there's been a lot of different discussions. Hopefully he's going to remain a Giant…The goal is for him to be a Giant, play as a Giant forever, and retire as a Giant. But how that works out is another issue."
2. Combine changes with the times.
**Coughlin began his NFL career in 1984 as the wide receivers coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and times have changed as the NFL Scouting Combine has grown over the years.
"There's an awful lot that has changed from the very first ones that I can remember," Coughlin said. "I remember being in New Orleans with a registry of all the position players that you had to look at, and there was literally a film bank. But coming here, it's gotten better every year….There are an awful lot of things that have to be accomplished in a very short amount of time, let's put it that way."
3. Status of Antrel Rolle.
Coughlin also reiterated his desire to bring back safety and defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle for his 11th NFL season, which would be his sixth with the Giants.
"He is an outstanding young man," Coughlin said of Rolle, who is also set to become a free agent. "And really, to be honest with you, I've never come across a player that was more interested in his team, in trying to help his team get better any way he could. Countless Tuesdays, Antrel was in my office with 'How can we get better, what can we do to get better?' -- just thoughts going back and forth between coach-player.
"I don't think I've been involved with a player that was more sincerely interested in how his team could improve, and I admire that very much in him as a young man and as a leader. And certainly we would like him -- it's been stated, you don't need me to state it again -- we would like him to come back. Obviously, we do have financial restrictions involved."
3. Cruz about to start running again.
It has been four months and one week since wide receiver Victor Cruz suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon that required surgery. Coughlin updated his offensive co-captain's status.
"He's worked very, very hard," Coughlin said. "He looks good. It's a very regimented rehabilitation program. He's done a good job with it. He's where he should be, and I think very shortly he's going to start running."
4. Coughlin: Spags has learned from stints with different programs.
Coughlin last month named Steve Spagnuolo as the "new" defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. Of course, Spagnuolo, a 34-year coaching veteran, held the same position during the Giants' Super Bowl XLII title run before becoming the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and then spending the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
"I don't know if he's a different coach at all," Coughlin said. "I think he's a very personable young
man. He's very sincere. He's very interested in the people that he works with, the players, the coaches. He is sincere about that. He has had the benefit of being in a couple different programs now. He has run, as a head coach, a football team in St. Louis. He's been with New Orleans. He's been with Baltimore. His last stop with John Harbaugh was a very good one, very great experience for Steve. It widened his knowledge, his capacity, broadening of his own thoughts in terms of how he would defend. So he has definitely learned from his experiences and that's going to benefit our football team."
**5. Subtle and not-so-subtle changes coming for the defense.
**Coughlin was asked what differences there will be in the Giants' defense from the last time Spagnuolo led the unit.
"It will be more sophisticated," Coughlin said. "There will be more to it. But there are areas on our football team defensively, situationally, that have got to improve. And I don't know if to the naked eye whether you'll see a whole of difference in that regard, but the production will be a lot better."
6. Coughlin and his future.
Coughlin doesn't care what it says on anyone's contract: there are 32 guys coaching one year a time in the NFL. But, as was reiterated during the season-ending press conferences by the Giants' top brass in late December, Coughlin is the head coach of the Giants moving forward.
"I think that part of it is underway," Coughlin said when asked if he and the team had discussed his contract. "Hopefully shortly you will have some information about that…I'm not going to say anything about that. In a short amount of time, you will find out and discover what is going on. I don't think it's any big mystery."
**8. Coughlin: final analysis comes from quality of player, evaluation on tape.
**As the combine has grown in scope, so has the preparation for prospects, who now dedicate part of their training solely to the combine drills.
"You have total knowledge that they're well-groomed, if you will, in the drills that are going to be run," Coughlin said. "Therefore you're really not that surprised when they do well in them. But the differences are still there. The times are different. The execution of the drills is different. And all those things are recorded and compared…I think the final analysis comes from the quality of the player and the evaluation on the tape."
9. Richburg to compete at center.
Weston Richburg, last year's second-round draft out of Colorado State, played all 16 games as a rookie with 15 starts at left guard. However, Coughlin said Thursday that Richburg will have every opportunity to earn the starting job at center, where he lined up 45 times in his college career. The Giants recently made some roster moves involving the offensive line, signing the CFL's 2014 Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Brett Jones and re-signing Dallas Reynolds, who was set to become a restricted free agent.
10. Coughlin: Kearse's catch compares to Tyree, not Manningham.
If not for the Seahawks' late turnover that led to the Patriots' victory in Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle wide receiver Jermaine Kearse's unbelievable catch on that last drive would be remembered like David Tyree's legendary "Helmet Catch" in the Giants' Super Bowl XLII championship. However, neither of those receptions compare to the precision of Eli Manning to Mario Manningham in Bowl XLVI.
"I thought it related to XLII, not to XLVI," Coughlin said of Kearse's catch. "I thought the play in XLVI was one of the finest, precision, executed plays you'll ever see -- the pass, the catch, the whole business. So there was nothing out of the ordinary about the execution of that particular play at this level. The two comparable plays are XLIX and XLII."
11. Former combine un-invitee Donnell still growing.
Tight end Larry Donnell, an undrafted player out of Grambling State, had a breakout season in 2014 with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Coughlin was asked about his progress.
"I think he's learned an awful lot about what it is to play in this league over an extended period of time, an entire season, the ups and the downs," Coughlin said. "I think he realizes he physically has to do a better job of preparing himself. We'd like for him to be a little bit better blocker. He's had huge games as a receiver. He does complement a lot of what we're doing and continues to improve and get better in that regard."