Accountability encompasses a lot, but in general, each player needs to do his job. Whether it’s making a tackle, sealing a block, securing the ball, avoiding a penalty or staying healthy, every Giant needs to go the extra yard to help the team win.
It’s too easy to blame the coaching staff. While offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell haven’t done much to fend off the criticism they so often receive, at some point the players need to step up and perform.
And that goes for anyone who steps onto the field. The Giants could have done without the injuries to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and safety Kenny Phillips in 2012, as the team suffered mightily without them in the lineup.
As Nicks started to wear down late in the season, battered from a full season of running routes on a bum knee, so did the Giants’ passing game. It had an effect on the entire offense, and no one—not even the miraculous Eli Manning—was able to pull the team out of the seemingly endless funks it’d fall into.
Phillips, usually a dominant centerfielder, was a ghost in 2012, playing in just seven games but recording a statistic in only five. In his absence, safety Stevie Brown enjoyed a career season, hauling in a team-leading eight interceptions (second most in NFL).
Although Brown showed a degree of accountability, the secondary was terrible in 2012, conceding over 4,000 yards through the air and allowing 60 pass plays of 20 yards or more.
The Giants “value” linebackers and offensive linemen were anything but valuable last season. Versatility may have been what landed starting jobs for players like left guard Kevin Boothe, right tackle David Diehl and linebackers Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley, but it ended up holding the team back in 2012. None of the four excelled at his respective position this past season.
Super Bowl caliber teams find ways to win even when they’re forced to field reserves or less-than-ideal talent.