My friends have so associated me with my New York Giants fandom that I have received many of those “how are you doing?” questions. It’s almost as if they believe I have lost a loved one. I’ll tell you how I am doing. I’m doing ok. I have learned to be philosophical about these things and put them into their proper perspective. It’s one year. It’s just one year. Between salary caps and the draft parity is high in the NFL. Nothing is permanent. The Giants have many pieces, and lack many others. However, they are set up for a decent salary cap situation that can get even better if they are lucky enough to have Snee retire.
The Giants lost to the Bears on Thursday night in their first competitive game in a long time. That could speak more to the Bears, but there were positive signs. For the first time this year the Giants had a 100 yard rusher and even more impressively continually opened holes in the Bears defense. If David Wilson (injured) had ever received those holes he would not be spoken of as a bust right now. It’s possible that I could meet Brandon Jacobs in a 40 yard dash so for him to gain 100 yards is something. Eli also had decent time to throw. He did mess up again with 3 interceptions. One was clearly Randall’s fault, and the last one was inches away from a play that would have put them in scoring and winning range.
On defense, the injuries in the secondary showed. They need back at least one from the Webster / Hosley crew. Ross is gone and not coming back. The biggest problem remains the lack of a pass rush. Any quarterback can pick apart a defense with time. The Giants over the course of a couple of years have gone from great to horrible on this front. It seems they are heading on a path that would net them Clowney in next year’s draft, and that may be what they need. Promising rookie Damontre Moore has been injured and presumably not healthy enough for real playing time. It will be interesting to see what he is capable of when fully healthy. I don’t know at this point if you can ever expect JPP to be JPP again. On a positive note, the Giants run defense is actually very good. For many weeks in a row good runners have not had an impact running the ball against the Giants. Rookie second rounder Johnathan Hankins showed something.
The Giants traded for Carolina’s Beason a couple of weeks ago, and he led them in tackles this past week. He looked impressive for a guy who was benched for the familiar and mediocre Chase Blackburn. He was a great linebacker a few years back before injuries took their toll.
In general, despite still only being 3 games back in the division, and capable of some run, the Giants would be wise to play the young guys and figure out exactly what they have. Coughlin has enough tenure to be able to do that without fearing ramifications of win loss effect. The problem is he has always been trained to think only about the next game and given the current situation, it’s important for the organization to start thinking about next year. One of the Mara’s should get involved and tell him specifically not to worry about this year’s record at this point. It’s not in his DNA to not try his best to win each game, but that is in the organizations’ best interest.
The Vikings should be a decent match up for the Giants. Since the Giants have been good at stopping the run and the Vikings have not done a great job in the passing game, this could prove to be the match up the Giants need to get off the schneid. I’m expecting the Giants to actually win a game. Look for a 24-20 victory.
Is it too early to analyze the top of the 2014 draft? Even being only 2 games out, that is all the Giants can realistically think about at this time. The Giants looked good for a little while there. The opening drive was impressive, as were the back to back drives in the 3rd quarter that put them ahead. But then the turnover monster struck yet again. At some point it’s not just the bounce of the ball.
On a positive note (I have to), Will Hill’s comeback from drug suspension and was all over the field. He does have the ability to be an impact player. Unfortunately, he doesn’t rush the passer and that is the real weakness of the team. JPP showed a little –which is more than he had for a while, but still not enough. Kiwi and Tuck are over the hill. It makes no sense to me that at this point Damontre Moore isn’t getting the major reps at DE. They were forced to play Hankins and he played well. Perhaps well enough to ensure that Linval Joseph’s sure to be large contract demands, at the end of this year, will not be met. A Secondary can cover only for so long. The run defense has actually been pretty decent this year. The pass rush just can’t get anywhere near the passer.
On offense, the running game is just nonexistent. David Wilson hurt his neck and didn’t return, though they claim it was largely precautionary and he should be good Thursday against Chicago. With no realistic chance to make the playoffs, it’s time to really see what the next generation can do. Adrian Robinson and Donnell should get real shots at tight end. Play Hosley (when healthy) at CB. Rolle, Webster, Tuck, Diehl, Joseph and most of the linebacking staff will not be back. Stop playing them. 6-10 is not really better than 4-12, while giving experience to the youngsters.
Coughlin has done a good job in his Giants career and I think that 2 Superbowl victories earn him the right to retire when he wants. Today was about his worst game as a coach. He made glaring judgment errors that cost them. He accepted a penalty that should have been declined, allowing a Vick run on the next play that led to a score. Then he called a time out right before he challenged a play, wasting an extra time out. Both were mistakes a coach of this experience should not make. The latter was very costly, because it didn’t allow them to challenge calls later in the game because they had no challenges left.
They play the Bears on Thursday. The Bears are a good home team. They lost to the Saints but the Saints are back to being the pre-bounty suspension Saints. The Bears are not great but Cutler and Trestman seem to have something going on there. The only redeeming sports item for many Giants fans right now is that the Knicks, as of this writing are still undefeated and will allow many of us to fool ourselves into believing that they can go somewhere this year. When you know you are at least a year away from seeing a meaningful Giants football game, it’s about all you can root for.
Ari has been an avid Giants fan since 1979. He attends many home games and has attended the Giants last 2 Superbowl victories. This blog will talk about anything related to the New York Giants. Ari also blogs about the New York Knicks, at http://www.ariglassknicksblog.com