New York Giants: Why Tom Coughlin's Plan to Stay the Course Is Right Thing to Do
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New York Giants fans are calling for wholesale changes with their football team.
They start at the coordinator level, where Kevin Gilbride and Perry Fewell are common scapegoats for the Giants' ineffectiveness on offense and defense, respectively.
“I hope that Fewell and Gilbride get handed their walking papers after this game. Absolutely sickening,” Bleacher Report reader Phil U commented during the Giants’ 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
And fan frustration didn't stop there.
“[Giants GM Jerry] Reese told everyone they were on notice in the offseason,” B/R reader Mark Jacobs wrote in another comment. “[Owner John] Mara needs to put Reese on notice for this debacle.”
Even Bleacher Report Featured columnist Dan Hiergessell offered his suggestion on how to fix the woeful-looking 0-3 Giants:
“Give us Bill Cowher, a first-round linebacker, five city dump trucks up front and all will be good.”
"Your team is your team,'' Coughlin said. "I think you have to deal with reality. The messages are very strongly presented. I don't need that kind of example.''
Coughlin, Reese, the coordinators—everybody in the Giants organization—had a plan for the 2013 team, and they are opting not to stray from it. Some unexpected developments and injuries have required this plan to be flexible, but, right now, the Giants are not considering gutting it from the inside out.
And that’s the right thing to do.
Under different circumstances, a drastic change would be understandable. If we were talking about a different franchise, like the Cleveland Browns, who recently traded their most explosive offensive weapon in running back Trent Richardson, a move like that would be expected. Or, if this staff had never proven its full potential—like Andy Reid’s cast in Philadelphia, which lost three consecutive conference titles before the Eagles fell short in the only Super Bowl appearance of Reid’s tenure there—it would be conceivable to shake things up.
But we’re talking about the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants, a franchise that hasn’t fired its head coach in midseason since Bill Arnsparger's 1976 campaign was cut short after seven winless contests.
With its team standing at 0-3, the New York coaching staff is up to its waist in hot water. Considering the way things are going, the bottom looks like it could very well come out on these 2013 Giants, leading to Coughlin’s first losing season since 2004, quarterback Eli Manning’s rookie year.
But the bottom hasn’t necessarily come out yet.
|Week 4||at Kansas City||1 p.m.|
|Week 5||EAGLES||1 p.m.|
|Week 6||at Chicago||8:25 p.m. (THU)|
|Week 7||VIKINGS||8:40 p.m. (MON)|
|Week 8||at Philadelphia||1 p.m.|
The Giants and division rival the Washington Redskins account for two of the league’s six teams still in search of their first win. The Eagles aren’t much better at 1-2, and the 2-1 Dallas Cowboys hold a less-than-commanding division lead.
The NFC East has been cumulatively outscored by 71 points this season, which is the most unfavorable disparity among NFL divisions. The Giants, Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys have yet to register a single nonconference victory among them, and only the Cowboys have tallied a win outside of the division.
This division is bad—like 2010 NFC West bad. Just three seasons ago, the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks each finished with a losing record. A winner had to be chosen, though, and so the Seahawks became the first below-.500 team to qualify for postseason play.
Now, the NFC West is one of the strongest divisions in football. The NFC East has subsequently fallen off. What seemed in 2010 as a freak occurrence could plausibly repeat itself, as the entire division is stumbling toward a similar finish.
How many wins will it take to win the NFC East?
Those seven-win Seahawks, who were playing under then-rookie head coach Pete Carroll, upset the New Orleans Saints before falling to the Chicago Bears in the Divisional Round of the 2010 playoffs. Imagine what Manning, Coughlin and the rest of the Giants, who have thrived before when making urgent late-season playoff runs, could possibly pull off if they squeaked into the postseason in similar fashion.
While a possibility, it's nothing on which a sane person would rely.
There’s a lot football still to be played, and there’s a good chance that a great portion of it will be ugly. Regardless, it begins Week 4, when the Giants travel to Kansas City wearing white road jerseys for the first time this season—the same ones they wore in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.
Which is fitting since the road that leads back to that game is a long one.
Kevin is a Featured Columnist and Game-Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report. You can also follow him on Twitter here.
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