This is the first season in two decades that Tom Coughlin hasn't been an NFL head coach. And even though he's now 70 years old, he would have preferred to stay on the sidelines. It didn't work out, and the Giants, the team he led to two Super Bowl titles, decided to move on.
Now the NFL senior advisor to football operations, Coughlin is in a unique position to talk about the Giants, and embattled third-year wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., in particular. Beckham, who caught 187 passes for 2,755 yards in his first two seasons, looks like a completely different player in 2016 -- and not in a good way. His on-field mood varies from distracted to disinterested, and he's as likely to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penally as make a game-changing play. His latest game -- a 3-catch, 23 receiving yards effort against the Vikings -- serves as a microcosm to the season, as does his comments afterwards.
"Football is my sanctuary," Beckham told ESPN's Anita Marks. "It's where I go to escape. It's where I'm most happy. I'm not having fun anymore."
Meanwhile, Coughlin, who coached Beckham in 2014 and 2015, was on Tuesday's episode of "We Need to Talk," and the conversation turned to the mercurial wide receiver.
"He really believes that he is at his best at the top of his passion," Coughlin told the panel that included Dana Jacobson, Andrea Kremer, Lisa Leslie and Summer Sanders. "He is so talented. I don't think there's anything the kid can't do. He is a good kid. He is a team guy in the team room. It's just when he gets on the field, there's only one way he knows how to play."
So what would Coughlin do if he was still coaching Beckham?
"For his own good [he needs to learn to channel his passion]," he continued. "And I would love to try to help him in this regard because I think so highly of him... [But] he is a distraction. If you watch a game the camera is on him the whole time."
"[T]hat was at Rex's initiation -- I would meet with ownership. (Rex) would be there. Russ Brandon (President of the Buffalo Bills) would be there. And we would talk about the role that I would be as part of their program," Coughlin explained. "It was pretty good when we met and talked. I actually think they wanted me to do a lot of things."
So what would Coughlin's role be?
"Maybe sit next to the owner in the press box, tell him what I thought about what was good and what was bad (on the field)," he said. "I came away feeling good about it. So did Rex. Then all of the sudden the questions started to come and they decided that it was something they couldn't do. But that was the only meeting we had. And the only time I've ever talked to ownership."
There was speculation that Coughlin met with the Bills after the team's dismal 0-2 start but Coughlin's agent and the NFL both denied it, according to the Buffalo News. The Bills are now on a two-game winning streak -- including convincing efforts against the Cardinals and Patriots, which means Ryan's job is safe for now.