The Giants' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles put an immediate stop to talks of New York football dominance and the era of a new dynasty. However, this was not the biggest loss. The Giants lost much more coming into Giants Stadium, even before the coin toss.
Let’s face it, wide receiver Plaxico Burress is the true deep threat for opposing defenses when facing the Giants. This allows offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to spread the field when needed.
More importantly, it gives quarterback Eli Manning the ability to reach the end zone, and score when behind.
Burress' presence would have changed the pace, and possibly the outcome of the game. However, there are 52 other players on a team's roster, and no matter the cause or reason for his absence, someone needed to step up and nobody did!
What allowed Manning to make the historic 2008 Super Bowl run was his rhythm and timing. Playoff win after win kept him in a rhythm, or in other words, "in the zone," and let him just play the game, not thinking about it as he did on Sunday.
Furthermore, Manning plays the position much like a streaky jump shooter. He can hit six three-pointers in the row, but doesn't hit the rest, or goes into halftime expecting to come out of the locker room and score 20 points.
Until Manning grows into a more seasoned professional. The first round bye was a momentum killer for Manning, and the entire offense. Hence, the inability to gain a first down with 4th-and-inches with not one but two downhill running backs in Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward on your roster.
Also, coming into the game on Sunday head coach Tom Coughlin, Manning, Jacobs, the guy who picks up the tee after kickoffs, and even Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb all forgot the Giants were the defending Super Bowl Champions.
The Giants did not display the swagger of a champion. As the top dog, your bark sometimes has to be bigger than your bite. Unfortunately, the bark was non-existent and the bite was more like a nibble.
Looking to next season, the Giants cannot, and should not, use the psychological mindset that this was a good season, and we can build.
The Giants will be watching this year's Super Bowl from the same place as the worst team in National Football League history, the Detroit Lions, who went 0-16: at home!
The Giants can correct this ship with ease. Just retain Burress, and Manning needs to return to training camp with a fire in his belly from that disgusting playoff loss.
Finally, someone ask the President-Elect to call this team to give them the needed boost of confidence with the now famous words “Yes We Can" for next year.
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