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Coach blocks out all distractions heading into Week 17


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Like everyone else, Tom Coughlin got the unexpected word last night that the Philadelphia Eagles had fired coach Chip Kelly.

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"Quite frankly," Coughlin said today, "I'm not surprised by anything in this business, but that one was close."

Coughlin's position is different than the millions of others who shared that reaction, because in four days he will coach the Giants in their season finale against those Eagles. Both teams are 6-9, and the winner will claim second place in the NFC East.

The irony is that recently speculation about Coughlin's job security has been discussed far more often than was Kelly's. The Giants' coach dealt with that in his typical head-on style when he addressed his players this morning. As always, Coughlin wants the focus only on the next game, and preparing his players to give them the best possible chance to defeat their opponent.

Coughlin knows they're aware of the ongoing conversation about him, and even some of his players' public reaction to it. He would much prefer they not deal with it at all.

"As I asked them this morning," Coughlin said, "I said, 'Look, first of all, it's not fair, you're young men. I'm the head coach, you're the players. I appreciate the sentiments. I've seen where a couple of you (reporters) have gotten out of them. I appreciate the sentiments, but that's not where I want them focused this week. Basically, I said, 'Don't worry about me or my situation. Let's prepare ourselves to play an outstanding football game, and try to win a game against the Philadelphia Eagle team.' Hopefully when you ask those questions, they will say, 'We are focusing on preparing for the Philadelphia Eagles" and leave it at that."

Asked another question about "your situation," Coughlin said, "I'm going to prepare myself and our team as best we can for this game, period. … To be honest, this is the 16th game of the season and that's where I'm focused. I won't let myself go in those other directions because we have a job to do, and that's what we're going to do. All these other issues will clear up in time, but not before then. Okay, the questions, I understand what you're trying to get at. That's not my position to say that. I am preparing for this game and that's the best I can do."

•  Coughlin expects no major changes from the Eagles, despite Kelly's departure.

"I think they continue to play the system that they have," Coughlin said. "Why would they change? They practiced yesterday."

•  Odell Beckham Jr. returned to the team this week after serving his one-game NFL suspension. Beckham did not play Sunday night in Minnesota.

"He just attended the meetings and he was very quiet, to be honest with you," Coughlin said. "Took part in everything. The guys, I'm sure, welcomed him back. He just came in, took his seat like he always does, and we went to work.

"I expect that he's learned a great deal from this situation. And that he will have taken a little of addressing himself in terms of how that happened, and plan on doing a better job."

•  Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is on the team's preliminary injury report with an ankle injury.

"He played with it last week, and I would think that he would get it under control and play again this week," Coughlin said.

The list also included three players with concussions: safeties Cooper Taylor and Craig Dahl, and tackle Marshall Newhouse, plus wide receiver Dwayne Harris (back/shoulder) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle).

•  Rookie defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is eligible to be activated off the injured reserve/designated for return list. Asked if he plans to do that, Coughlin said, "We'll see, but that's a good consideration."

•  Coughlin was impressed with backup quarterback Ryan Nassib's brief appearance in the loss in Minnesota. Nassib completed all five of his passes, including a 25-yard touchdown to Myles White. It was Nassib's first action of the season.

"Ryan did very well at the end of the game," Coughlin said. "Of course, the circumstances had changed, not that he didn't perform well - he did. He certainly did."

But that doesn't mean Coughlin is eager to give him a more extended tryout in relief of Eli Manning.

"I'm concerned with winning the game first and foremost," Coughlin said.

•  The Giants signed linebacker Glenn Carson and safety T.J. Heath to their practice squad.

Carson, 6-2 and 242 pounds, entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Arizona in 2014 and played in the final five games of the season. He was credited with 11 tackles (seven solo). He was waived on Aug. 31, 2015. A native of Manahawkin, N.J., Carson starred at Southern Regional High School and Penn State.

Heath, 6-0 and 180 pounds, played in five games with the 2011 Jacksonville Jaguars and two with the 2014 Miami Dolphins. He joined the league in 2011 as a rookie free agent with the Jaguars from Jacksonville State. Heath has been on the practice squads of the Jaguars, Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons, and in training camps with the Cincinnati Bengals and this year with the Carolina Panthers.

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