New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he expects that National Football League defenses will adapt to the running threat of quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.
Griffin, Kaepernick and Wilson all had record-setting performances in leading their teams to the playoffs last season, countering what Coughlin said is “normally a taboo” against running quarterbacks in the NFL.
“Defenses will be better prepared for that next year,” Coughlin, who has won two Super Bowl titles in nine seasons as coach of the Giants, said today in an interview on ``Bloomberg Surveillance'' with Tom Keene and Michael McKee. “As a matter of fact, we’ve studied it since the end of the regular season.”
While Griffin, 23, had the highest passer rating for a first-year quarterback in NFL history, he also rushed for a rookie-record 815 yards for the Washington Redskins before tearing a ligament in his right knee.
Wilson, 24, had 489 rushing yards for the Seattle Seahawks, and his versatility helped him record the second-highest rookie quarterback rating in league history and tie Peyton Manning’s first-year record for touchdown passes with 26.
Kaepernick, 25, helped the San Francisco 49ers reach the Super Bowl after taking over as a starter midway through his second NFL season. He rushed for 415 yards during the regular season while starting only seven games and set an NFL quarterback record by rushing for 181 yards in a playoff win over the Green Bay Packers.
The three provide a stark contrast to the Giants’ Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner and prototypical quarterback who passes from the pocket. Manning scrambled for a total of 30 yards last season. Coughlin said it remains to be seen how much of a long-term impact a quarterback who runs the read-option system of offense will have in the NFL.
“A huge chunk of your salary cap, and rightfully so, is in your quarterback position,” Coughlin said. “And your quarterback has so much knowledge and so much time spent in preparation, you can’t afford to not have your general, your leader, out on the field.”
Coughlin, who this week released a book titled “Earn the Right to Win,” said he believes restricted free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz will re-sign with the Giants and that he’s eager to see whether the fast-paced offense favored by new Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly can have the same success in the NFL as it did at the University of Oregon.
“It makes you prepare for that, the up-tempo type of a thing,” Coughlin said. “We’re going to have to see.”
The Giants have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl among the four teams in the National Football Conference’s East division, at 20-1, while the Eagles are a 50-1 longshot, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book. The Dallas Cowboys have 25-1 odds and the Redskins, who are unsure when Griffin will return, are listed at 30-1. The Giants’ title chances rank 11th among the NFL’s 32 teams.
Coughlin, who has an 83-61 record in New York, is the oldest active coach in the NFL and will be 67 when the 2013 season kicks off. He said in his book that he hasn’t thought about retiring anytime soon.
The oldest coaches in NFL history were George Halas and Marv Levy, a pair of Hall of Fame members who both stayed in the league until they were 72.
“You’ve got to try to stay young at heart,” said Coughlin, who will be entering his 18th season as a head coach. “I surround myself with enough young coaches and staff to keep me constantly informed.”