Giants fans are eternal optimists. They feel their team can beat anyone, every year.
That attitude served them well in 2007 when the Giants had a postseason for the ages, in which they defeated the Buccaneers, Cowboys, Packers and the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. They won three postseason games on the road to get to the Super Bowl.
They are hoping miracles can happen again this year for Big Blue. With the team dealing with many injuries and many defections in the offseason, they are in a bind already. The experts are not giving them a chance to be a playoff team.
Not surprisingly, Giants fans disagree with that thought. They feel the team has enough depth on defense and offense to overcome injuries and offseason defections.
Optimism and confidence can be a beautiful thing, but reality stands out more in sports. The Giants’ problems stem from the head coach and the quarterback. What confidence does anyone have in Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin?
Manning and Coughlin orchestrated two collapses under their watch in the last two years. Manning has been brutal in December for the last two seasons. In the games the Giants needed to win, he hasn’t been the solution. He finished last season with 25 interceptions.
It wasn’t Manning's poor performance that was alarming. It was him taking a step back, and playing like a rookie. He let his struggles get to him down the stretch. It was always three-and-out when he and his unit were on the field.
With everything falling apart from special teams to defense, the Giants needed Manning to get them out of this mess. He failed to deliver against the Packers after a horrendous loss to the Eagles.
He took the blame for what happened in December. Now, it’s on him to make amends for a bad season. He obviously has to cut down on the interceptions. He has to find a way to convert on third downs, which was a problem last season. He needs to be quick with his throws rather than put himself in a position to be sacked.
Basically, Manning has to play smarter. He should be playing like that by now. He’s been in the league long enough to figure this out.
With the way he has played, one can’t help but think he is a bust. He engineered a nice postseason run in 2007, but he should be doing more than that. He needs to lead the Giants to the playoffs every year.
What confidence do the Giants have in Manning now? He did not have a good preseason. He was off target throwing the ball to his receivers. He continues to have problems with interceptions.
It doesn’t seem like he is getting better. Maybe it’s time to realize he had a fluke 2007 postseason.
Then there’s Coughlin’s leadership as coach.
He has had his team unprepared and undisciplined every game. They find ways to lose rather than to win. When the going gets tough, Coughlin implodes by screaming at his players rather than leading them and teaching them about what happened on a play. He is often confused on the sidelines every game.
This is not what a franchise should expect out of its coach. Often times, Coughlin coaches like Ray Handley. He does not seem to have any answers when the going gets tough. Players don’t seem to pay attention to him when he is coaching.
It could come down to this. His players tuned him out. Their play and their demeanor indicate that. This is why the Giants should have not bothered keeping Coughlin this season. They should have found a coach that can offer a new perspective for guys to listen.
The Giants didn’t look at it that way. They feel Coughlin hasn’t lost it. Plus, they didn’t want to fire him after a 10-win season.
It’s a good thing he won the Super Bowl in 2007 or else he would have been looking for work a long time ago. Still, the Giants can’t thank him forever. It’s about the bottom line. It’s on him to make all of this work.
It’s hard to believe it is going to work out for Coughlin and Manning. It’s been several years, and it’s always been the same story for them. That’s why the Giants are hard-pressed to make the playoffs this year.
Those two were lucky things worked out for them in the 2007 postseason, but luck runs out after a while. It comes down to whether both of them are good enough to get it done.
Both of them have shown no evidence that they can lead and produce outside of a fluke 2007 postseason, so it’s hard to get excited about this season.