If you just look at their record, the New York Giants (6-10) had a pretty bad season: 3-5 at home, 3-5 on the road, 23rd in rush offense and 30th in rush defense.

Not good.

But if you look a little closer, you’ll see an incredibly young – and incredibly talented – roster that won three of its last four games, this after losing seven straight in October and November.

What exactly led to the Giants’ 3-9 start?

“Well, I think it’s a combination of things,” Giants punter Steve Weatherford said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We believe in (offensive coordinator) Ben McAdoo’s system, but in order to take a step forward, you’re going to take two steps back – and I think we did that this year. Towards the end of the year, I think guys started to get comfortable in the offense. Obviously (for) the second year in a row, we almost felt like we were snakebitten with injuries. A lot of that happened on our offensive line, which (was) not necessarily a concern going into the season, but losing Chris Snee, losing Dave Diehl – those were core guys that had been with the New York Giants for 10+ years and guys that were really what New York football is all about: toughness and perseverance and leadership.

“But there’s a lot to look forward to,” Weatherford continued. “I think for me moving forward as a New York Giant, it’s definitely disappointing the season we had. But to see the young players we had come through and really be impact players, it’s a lot to look forward to. Obviously it’s disappointing because you want to win a world championship. But for us, I think Giants fans have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be optimistic about in the future.”

The Giants will return several key components next season, including Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and, yes, Weatherford.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention Tom Coughlin, who endured speculation that he would be fired after missing the playoffs for the third straight season.

Weatherford could not be happier that Coughlin was retained.

“I think when you look at it and you think about moving forward . . . where you have a position you think you want to upgrade, you have to know that there’s somebody out there that’s better,” Weatherford said. “And at the head-coaching position, I don’t think there’s a better head coach in pro sports than Tom Coughlin. Granted, I’m very biased. He led me to the greatest experience of my life in winning a Super Bowl in 2012, but I just don’t think there’s anybody out there that’s better. Just the way he conducts himself, the way he’s able to develop players, the way he’s able to lead people, mentor people, motivate people – I’ve never been around another man like that in my entire life. I think he’s bigger than sports. I think he’s bigger than football. The things that he’s able to do off the field are to me more impressive than what he’s done as head football coach of the New York Giants.”


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