EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – A seemingly contrite Jeremy Shockey said Monday that his emotions got the best of him when he criticized Tom Coughlin and his staff for being outcoached in a blowout loss at Seattle.

Coughlin talked with his Pro Bowl tight end and the team Monday, but the coach would not discuss either what was said or “decided.” He conceded he was surprised and extremely disappointed by something that should not be done by anyone, especially when his door is always open to any player.

“It’s between the player and I,” Coughlin said less than 24 hours after his defending NFC East champions fell to 1-2 heading into the bye week.

What is obvious is that there is a rift on a team that thought it was capable of going to the Super Bowl this year.

Shockey didn’t apologize Monday for his post-game comments, which were the second attack on the coaching staff in four games.

Running back Tiki Barber also criticized Coughlin and company after the Giants were embarrassed 23-0 by Carolina in the opening round of the playoffs last season.

“I’m very team-oriented and I do let my emotions get to me,” Shockey said in a locker room that had a playoff feel, with almost three times as many members of the media on hand to catch the aftermath of his motor-mouth meltdown.

“It’s the competitive nature of me,” Shockey added. “I don’t like to lose. I don’t like to lose at anything. The way we played as a team, it’s not this team and it’s not this organization.”

Shockey’s tone was much more subdued than after the Giants’ 42-30 loss, a game made that close because New York scored the final 27 points after the Seahawks relaxed. Instead of venting anger Monday, his voice was low. His eyes stared straight ahead. There was no confrontation, even when he was pressed for more.

The day before, Shockey had a lot to complain about. His biggest gripe was that the offense was not ready for some of the defenses employed by the Seahawks.

“We know that’s not the case,” quarterback Eli Manning said Monday, coming to Coughlin’s defense. “That’s not true. We got outplayed, but it wasn’t coaching. Everything they did, we’ve seen, we were prepared for. We were in good situations, a lot of times, we just weren’t making the plays. He was just emotional after the game and he knows he made a mistake.”

Center Shaun O’Hara complained that the media were focusing on Shockey’s complaints about the coaching and not mentioning that he also said the players were outplayed.

“I am not going to sit here and talk about what one guy says when we all know what went on,” O’Hara said.

“This is not about Jeremy Shockey. This is about the New York Giants losing a game. I don’t care who, what or where said what. That’s what it is about.”

Shockey also complained about doing too much blocking and not getting the ball enough. And he pointed out that Manning has performed better in the no-huddle offense, a scheme that helped the Giants rally to beat Philadelphia and then make the Seattle game reasonably close.

“I want to win more than anybody,” said Shockey, who has 11 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown despite playing with a sprained ankle.

Shockey said the Giants need to get healthy and focus on beating Washington on Oct. 8.

“We haven’t lost confidence,” he said. “We dug ourselves a hole with the game and we dug ourselves a hole with our record. It’s up to us to dig ourselves out.”

Manning said the this week’s bye will give the Giants a chance to get back to playing good football.

“We have high expectations of ourselves,” Manning said.

“We have seen what we can do when things are going well. We are explosive. Once we get out of this funk we are in and start playing the game we know we can, everything will get better.”

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan agreed. Shockey said what he wanted to say, Strahan said, and he wasn’t concerned about the outburst.

“It’s one and two, 13 games to go,” said Strahan, who has yet to make a sack this season. “Geez guys, don’t panic. Relax.”

AP-ES-09-25-06 1855EDT


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