NFC East Swing Will Test Big Blue’s Mettle
In the next three weeks, we’re going to find out a lot about the New York Football Giants.
Will they put up a fight against their division rivals, or continue to spiral downward towards the front of the draft?
Will the team’s pride, which has slowly dissipated with each painful defeat, return in time to salvage the season, or will it continue to seep out the window?
Will the coaches and players who now find themselves on the bubble rise up and embrace the much-needed changes or continue to be blind and stubborn?
These questions and others will be answered before you have your first eggnog.
Stuck in the Mud
Suddenly the Giants seem like a plodding, methodical team reminiscent of the 1950s NFL. They slam Brandon Jacobs into the line, and their passing game looks like something out of the Steve Owen-era. They are so predictable, opponents cannot believe how easy it has become to prepare for and to defeat them.
They appear to have little team speed.
That could not be further from the truth. Their wide receivers and reserve linebackers are all fast. The coaches just don’t know how to properly employ them.
If they are going to find out which direction this team is headed, they must begin to increase the playing time of the following players: LBs Clint Sintim, Bryan Kehl, and Jonathan Goff; TE Travis Beckum and WR Ramses Barden.
Tom Coughlin has to get the speed out on the field.
Outdated in Just Two Seasons?
I find the scheme on defense to be the major culprit in the unit’s poor performance this season.
On offense, it’s the playcalling.
The NFL has altered and created several new rules to protect offensive players the past two years. All of those rules promote the passing game.
On offense, the Giants continue to assert themselves as a power running team. That is no longer the way the game is played. It is a passing-oriented game, almost touch-football in nature compared to years past.
Just like that, in two years, things changed. The coaches didn’t get the memo, but the GM, Jerry Reese, did.
Jerry Reese made Eli Manning the highest-paid player in the game and used four of his first five selections in April's draft on two wide receivers, a tight end, and an offensive tackle.
What did the coaches do? Nothing. They not only failed to integrate the new pieces (with the exception of Hakeem Nicks), they conservatized their philosophies negating almost every one of their strengths.
This is the 21st Century NFL and the Giants’ coaching staff is guilty of hoarding latent talent on the bench. The time to make the changes is past due.
John Fennelly is a Senior Contributor to SNY's Giants Football Blog