New York Giants are Coughling It Up, One Step at a Time

Jared KarlebachContributor INovember 10, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 11:  Defensive corrdinator Steve Spagnuolo of the New York Giants talks with Aaron Pierce #58 during a break in play against the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Fi-re Cough-lin!

Remember that chant way back in 2006 just a year before winning the Super Bowl?  Most dedicated Giants fans do.

I will be the first to admit that I aided in that chant, only to regret it the past two years, only to love it once again.  Flip-flopper, sure, but have I become a realist about the situation...absolutley!

I was mad back in 2006, I felt like Tom wasn't the guy, too hard and demanding on the players, failing to give the team a players coach with discipline that so many fans hoped for after seeing Jim Fassel's vacation like approach.  Coughlin gave us a military like dictatorship that only disgruntled players.  We found no middle ground.

And then came 2007, the stand against the Redskins with our record at 0-2, and all of a sudden in the blink of an eye the storm cleared and Coughlin became this changed man, loved by players, winning over the fans, and leading the team towards greatness.

Oh it was beautiful with the Super Bowl coming back to New York followed by a 2008 campaign that had us with best record in the NFC.  Yes sir, things looked good.

Then came 2009, and after a brief run of the easiest teams in the league, minus Dallas, we actually played some real competitors and found ourselves right back in 2006, a talented team that seemed lost in leadership.

So what gave way?  The front office was blind as to the reason for Coughlin's success.  Steve Spagnuolo made Coughlin that great coach, brought him that super bowl, and saved his job.  Then Spags left, and so did the Giants success, bringing the team from great back to average.

Those two years of 07 and 08 were based on a tremendous defense and a vanilla offense.  The running game was superb, but as I have written before, the offense always underachieved, which was sad considering Coughlin is suppose to be an offensive minded guy.

With Spags gone, the reality of Coughlin is back.  We are again predictable on offense, and inept on defense with Bill "Tim Lewis" Sheridan running the show.  While I would love to rant on Sheridan and Kevin "Killdrive" Gilbride, let us look at really who is in the headlights.  Coughlin...

He is the one who brings in the coordinators, who promoted Gilbride after having the incapable Huffnagel, who had Time Lewis and now Sheridan.  His one saving grace for coordinators was Spags.  The front office should have seen this and made its move to retain him, even if that meant letting Coughlin go.  The Giants have not won a playoff game without Spags.

Spags had a confidence, charisma, and swagger about him, one that without saying a word, could rally and muster a defense towards greatness.  Players loved him and wanted to play for him.  I cannot say the same for Sheridan whom Osi Umenyiora walked out on way back in training camp.

At the time it looked like nothing major, but today it seems there may have been more to it.  I continue to say that the Giants and Spagnuolo won that Superbowl despite Coughlin and Gilbride.

With the Chargers this past week, it is clear that Coughlin needs to go, he is nothing without a tremendous defensive coordinator.  At the end of the game, after deciding to play for the field goal rather than the win, after failing to believe in his players and his 100 million dollar quarterback to get the win, this is what Tom had to say,

"We didn’t want to turn the ball over, obviously."

I'm not sure I understand Coach Coughlin.  You have a franchise, number one overall pick in Eli Manning, arguably one of the best offensive lines in football, and one of the best recievers in the league this year in Steve Smith, and you are scared that the ball might get turned over?  Would Bill Belichick be scard, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, or Jim Caldwell?  I think not.

In my honest opinion, the players do have to execute, but when the opposing defense seems to know what is coming, the opposing offensive knows what kind of blitzes are being called, and the fans in the stands can predict the next play, it seems that the onus is squarely on the coaches. 

It does not matter how talented the players are if the scheme is flawed.  The talent has simply masked the inefficiencies of the coaching staff until this point.

The Giants are deep at almost every position, but safety, and have talent coming out of their ears, and that is the reason why they are successful to a point.  Mix that talent with a creative and intelligent coaching staff that plays to the strengths of its players, and is able to make mid-game adjustments and you have a Super Bowl  caliber team once again.

The giants have missed out on great coaches in the past from Landry to Lombardi who were on the Giants staff.  More recently, John Fox and Steve Spagnuolo.  It is time we get it right and go after Bill Cowher.

Does this mean a shift back to a 3-4?  I cannot say, but I would take it, if it meant seeing a capable coaching staff on the field.  Regardless, Clark and Blackburn are backups who are starting, Kehl, Sintim, Goff, and Wilkinson deserve a look at this point, but it seems like they are not fully getting a fair shot. 

I am sick of seeing players utilized incorrectly, case in point, how long did it take to get Hixon back returning kick's and punts?  He was never a good enough  receiver to protect him like that, but Coughlin did. 

Time to move on from Coughlin and give the players a chance to live up to their talent.

You Play to Win the Game!