I’m shocked, and yet, with everything that has happened this season, I should have expected this. Plainly speaking, the Giants are an average team. They are a .500 team now (7-7, essentially the definition of average in sports) and that screams inconsistency. One week they can beat the mighty Patriots, and another they can lose to Rex Grossman and the abysmal Redskins. (To illustrate how bad the Redskins have been this season: they are easily the worst team in the NFC East…a division that could realistically send an 8-8 team to the playoffs. Ouch)
To be fair, though, calling them inconsistent might be misleading. Inconsistent gives the impression that they are a talented team. Talent should not describe a team that has replaced its defense with a revolving door (I almost wish they did this…could it really be any worse?) With Tuck injured and Kiwanuka playing linebacker (WTF?!?!?!?!?!?! – yes…all those question marks and exclamation marks were needed. Trust me) JPP is the only pass rusher we have. Without a consistent pass rush and a coordinator who refuses to send any blitz at any point in the game no matter what, quarterbacks are able to just sit back and pick the defense apart.
With no defense every game is put on the shoulders of the offense. Oh the offense. That unit we are depending so desperately on is a unit that ranks dead last in every rush category imaginable. Crazy. So really, the only working part of this team is the passing game. Eli has become a top 5 QB in this league, and has kept this team in playoff contention, but this is exactly why this team is .500. You can’t rely on one aspect of the game, no matter how awesome it has been, and expect to make the playoffs or be considered a GOOD team.
I know. That is a hard pill to swallow. This is the same team that was a top 5 team in terms of talent last season. How did we fall this far? Well first off, we lost a good deal of players from that team. Steve Smith, Kevin Boss,
Shaun O’Hara, Adam Koets (super cereal about this), Rich Seubert, Jonathan Goff, Barry Cofield, Justin Tuck (really might as well be on IR), and Terrell Thomas. That is a lot of talent to lose. Not only that, but all of those guys were great locker room guys. Then you factor in Perry Fewell’s disastrous season as defensive coordinator, and a team with the maturity level of a 5-year-old (2-year-old….new born?!?) and you get this abomination we call the 2011 season.
I should be more specific about those last two points. Let’s start with Fewell. When he said he couldn’t blitz because he didn’t trust his guys in coverage he lost me. I was ready to fire him then. Are you kidding me Fewell? It is not like you were given the Colts roster. Kenny Phillips, Corey Webster, Antrel Rolle, Michael Boley, JPP, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, hell even Aaron Ross. Those are good players. Any decent coordinator would be able to work with that. The reason they struggle in coverage is because you have made things too complicated for them. This team is not good at
thinking reacting. They like to attack. Look at Sheridan, look at Tim Lewis…then look at Spags. What was the difference? Spags attacked. This team has never been good at zone, they excel in man coverage and blitzing. They love being physical. PLAY TO THEIR STRENGTHS! I just don’t understand how he can expect to win by giving players like Grossman and Vince Young all day to throw. Any QB in this league will tear you apart if you give them time. Make these guys uncomfortable and when the game is on the line in the fourth, they will be too jittery to put together a drive.
This brings me to a quick side note. I like Tom Coughlin. I think he is a good head coach, but he clearly is done as the head coach of the Giants. The big reason I believe in that, is his ineptitude at picking coordinators. Outside of Spagnoulo, he has not hired a single good coordinator. What other Giant coordinator has gotten a second job. Sheridan? Lewis? John Haufnagel? (remember him). I’ll talk more about this in a later post.
Now to the second point. Maturity. God this team is immature. What was the shirt Coughlin had them all wearing? Talk is Cheap? Do his players know what that means. All they do is talk. They say how upset they are, how fired up they are, but when it comes time for the game they don’t show up. Then there was Jacobs deciding he doesn’t get enough carries, and Antrel Rolle and his radio station. What was that line this week? Throw to me? Well they did, and you got burned. Shut up and play the game.
The Giants still have a chance to make the playoffs. Unfortunately that has more to do with the poor performance of their division than it does with anything they’ve done. Yes, I hope they make the playoffs. And of course I would love a playoff run, but that doesn’t change the fact that come the offseason this team needs to have some big changes.