New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin stood before the media, his face red and chapped from the wintry night of a football game played outdoors against the Minnesota Vikings in the elements like it was meant to be.
However, his Giants team didn’t play the game as it was meant to be, turning in a sloppy, error-filled and uninspired performance that included dropped passes, missed tackles, one player ejected (linebacker J.T. Thomas) and three interceptions, two of which were converted into 14 points in a 49-17 beatdown by the now playoff-bound Vikings.
The loss successfully sucked the life and fight out of an otherwise feisty Coughlin, who, when he took the podium to try to make sense of what had just transpired on a cold TCF Bank Stadium Field, was simply defeated.
“I didn’t see this coming,” a hunched-over Coughlin said during his postgame media briefing.
In retrospect, he probably should have seen this coming from Pluto.
With his team now dropping five of its last six games this season, while assuring itself of its third straight losing campaign, the poor showing by the Odell Beckham Jr.-less Giants has been building up to a point where the entire football operation has left co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch with no choice regarding what must be done.
Coughlin is a man who takes great pride in his job and who, at least for the most part, seems to enjoy it.
He’ll stand there before the media after a loss and talk about how well his team practiced, and he’ll generally try to find the good in a situation, even if doing so means reaching for a concept in a way that he probably wishes some of his receivers would reach for overthrown passes.
However, Coughlin has seemingly morphed into a coach who for a while has been trying to convince himself that things are better than they really are—how else can the Giants’ ineptness be explained?
It can’t, which is why a new sheriff is coming to town to get this Giants team back on track.
Reese? The job done by his staff is just as much if not more to blame for the debacles of the last four years.
Oh, sure, he’s managed the cap well enough to where, according to Over the Cap, the Giants are projected to have upwards of $37 million, a total that could grow to more than $50 million if the inflated contracts such as those held by offensive lineman Will Beatty, linebacker Jon Beason and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz are removed from the books.
Still, here’s a rather unsettling fact to chew on: Of their seven draft picks in the 2012 class, only two—defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (now on injured reserve) and receiver Rueben Randle—remain on the current roster.
Both of those two will be unrestricted free agents with little to no chance of being re-signed, meaning that an entire draft class chosen just four short years ago, a class that should have been coming into its prime this season, is on the verge of officially being a complete bust.
Dan Graziano @DanGrazianoESPN
Very strange vibe in the Giants’ postgame locker room. Among the players, there is still strong support and... https://t.co/5PoGAT14cB2015-12-28 05:49:47
Want more unsettling facts? How about with an opening at receiver the fact that sixth-round draft pick Geremy Davis didn't get a game-day uniform ahead of undrafted free agent Ben Edwards, who was just signed from the practice squad this week, or that third-round pick Jay Bromley finally cracked into the starting lineup only because Kuhn, the seventh-round pick, landed on injured reserve this past week?
Still not convinced that a change needs to be made at the front office? Since 2010, the Giants have 18 draft picks that were selected in rounds one through three, the rounds where teams usually find their starters.
Two of their first-round picks, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerback Prince Amukamara, are both coming to the end of their respective contracts, neither really convincing anyone that they’re worth big money.
In the second round, two players, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and DE Marvin Austin, are no longer on the team, with Randle sure to follow them after this year.
In the third round, only ONE player, Bromley, has been active for this team, with cornerback Jayron Hosley a healthy scratch the last two weeks, defensive end Damontre Moore cut for maturity issues and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa spending most of his rookie season injured.
Yes, there’s Beckham and left tackle Ereck Flowers, but there are far more misses than hits in the draft, and it is beyond logic how any argument of stability can be used to justify keeping the front office intact when in fact the player personnel selections have created so much instability on the roster these last several years.
Change can be scary given the unknowns, but given the pattern that has emerged of late, can it be any worse?
Patricia Traina covers the Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise sourced.
Follow me on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.