Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons for their wins against the New York Giants, but once again the Giants have reminded the world that they are in fact still the same old Giants, which isn’t saying much nowadays. After yet another fourth-quarter debacle this past Sunday, the Giants became the first team in NFL history to lose their first two games in a season by blowing double-digit leads in the fourth quarter. Even when they’re bad, they can still make history and that isn’t even the biggest problem on their laundry list of problems. Here is a breakdown of what is wrong with the New York Giants:
What’s Wrong with the G-Men?
Too many things are wrong with the Giants but for the sake of this post, I decided to only include obvious problems as well as some of my personal observations.
- Tom Coughlin: By default, Tom Coughlin has to be on this list. Ever since their Super Bowl victory over the Patriots, the Giants have missed the playoffs every season and have gotten progressively worse each season. As the head coach, Coughlin ultimately has to be held responsible because this has occurred under his leadership. Right now, Coughlin is in the same situation that Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith was in when he still coached the Chicago Bears. The problem isn’t that Coughlin can no longer coach in the NFL, but rather that he can no longer coach for this team.
- Eli Manning: When the Giants gave Eli Manning a 4-year, $84 million extension, they basically sealed their fate for the next four years. They basically told the football world that Manning, a perpetually inconsistent quarterback throughout his career (unlike his brother), is their go-to guy and the football world responded with a laugh. When Manning had to actually play like a go-to guy after the Falcons stole the lead late in the fourth quarter this past Sunday, he couldn’t complete one pass. He either overthrew or underthrew the football to his receivers (some of which were clearly open), but he couldn’t throw one pass on the money. As a Giants fan, I’m thankful for Manning capturing those two Super Bowls during his career, but more often than not I’ve found myself, like many other Giants fans, disappointed for the most part.
- No plans for the future at the QB position: If you’re a Giants fan or just an NFL aficionado, then you might be aware that Manning is the current active leader for consecutive games started (169). Although that streak should be respected because it means he has always been available to play, it also means that the Giants have not given another quarterback a chance to start a game even when Manning has been really bad, which he has been for more games than anyone could count. Assuming that Manning retires as a Giant after his contract ends, I’m not sure what the team is going to do at the quarterback position. The only other quarterback currently on the roster is Ryan Nassib. By the time Nassib starts (if he ever starts), he will virtually be an experienced rookie and an experienced rookie is still a rookie. Unless he goes on to become the next Aaron Rodgers, the Giants are probably going to stink yet again and will most likely turn to the draft when that happens. Who knows what the QB class will look like if and when that does occur?
- Defense: The Giants’ defense has many question marks at just about every position. Even so, in the two games it has played, it looked decent overall. However, when it mattered most in both games, it gave up game-winning touchdowns. One occurred when rookie linebacker Uani’ Unga basically let Jason Witten run straight to the endzone (he literally ran to the back of the endzone and waited for Witten to put both of his feet in the endzone) and catch a touchdown pass to cap a 6-play, 72-yard drive. The other one occurred when the Giants thought it would be smart to put CB Prince Amukamara one-on-one with elite WR Julio Jones. Everyone saw how that ended. I can’t get on the defense too much though because it still looks better than the offense.
- Late-game shenanigans (penalties) in close games: Late in the fourth quarter of the season opener against the Cowboys, the Giants’ offense got called for a penalty (I think it was a false-start penalty), which stopped the clock and gave the Cowboys the ability to keep one of their timeouts. Late in the fourth quarter of the game against the Falcons, the offense was hit with a delay-of-game penalty, which turned a manageable 3rd & 7 into a much more difficult 3rd & 12. Those were both key mistakes that contributed to their losses. Hopefully, the offense will be on the same page down the road when the game is on the line. This problem can be considered minor since the season is still relatively fresh, but it will continue to kill this team in the future if it doesn’t stop.
- Reliance on the pass interference penalty: Seeing this problem make the list, I know what you’re thinking: Why is something so trivial such as this on the list? My answer: If you’ve paid attention to this team for the past few years as I have, you will know that this is something the Giants have abused and will probably continue to abuse. Way before the pass interference rule was changed from a 15-yard penalty to a spot-of-the-foul penalty, the Giants heavily relied on this penalty to move the ball down the field. I have seen too many instances where Manning heaved the ball down the field with no regard to the result of the play unless the penalty was called. Once again, look at the Falcons game. On the Giants’ final drive, the only time the ball moved down the field was when the penalty was called. Reliance on this penalty makes the Giants appear as if they’re more concerned with getting the penalty called rather than actually making a play.
While some of these problems can be corrected with discipline, others cannot be corrected simply because of the people at the helm of this organization. Many fans (including myself) respect Coughlin and Manning for their contributions to the team, but I realize that their time with the team has to end sometime soon if the Giants do not wish to end up like the Cleveland Browns or the Oakland Raiders or some other team in the future that either signs a big-time free agent or puts all of its’ hopes into the NFL draft and is consistently disappointed.