Last week the Giants got their (Super Bowl) clock cleaned by SD, losing 37-13. This week they lost again by a similar margin, only this time it was a shutout, 23-0.
"Pathetic," said Tom Coughlin of his offense's performance. The frequenters of this NY Giants blog have company in their assessment of that unit this year, and it comes from the head coach himself. At least we can respect TC for being forthright and honest.
In the first quarter we tweeted: "It is hard to imagine how (the) SEA defense allows NYG offense m/any pts today." Given that the Giants had one lonely drive past midfield that ended with an INT in the endzone, this outcome was not too surprising. Justin Tuck set the tone early in the week, noting that anything less than a strong effort would likely lead to an "embarrassing" result. And that it was.
Embarrassing. For Coughlin, December seems to deliver his fair share of embarrassment. The Giants have played hard for TC, but versus competent teams like SD and SEA, we find out again that the team is swimming naked when the tide goes out.
Before the game started, there was an assessment of Coughlin. This one came from Giants nobility in the form of Lawrence Taylor: "Tom Coughlin has done wonders for the Giants. Personally, I don’t know if I could play for him, but the guy is a winner, he is a fighter. But I think it is time for him to take his talents on the road. He’s done all he can do for the Giants. If he wants to coach, I think he needs to take his philosophies to another team."
Back to the latest ugliness, Seattle's defense shut down the Giants offense soundly. Before garbage time ensued late in Q4, the Giants Offense conducted 11 drives of an AVERAGE of 3 plays per drive. 11 drives, 35 plays:
This is called getting completely shut down. It felt like that metaphor from the first 6 games, Giants 1970's football. Men vs boys.
Eli Manning threw 4 INTs (the hail mary at the end of H1 does not count beyond official stats), and there was plenty of collective blame to go around. Eli Manning has regressed this season, and the #1 pass defense put his and the offense's weaknesses into overdrive. Hakeem Nicks arguably shares blame on 2 of the 4 picks, as he practically watched on as two balls were taken in front of him. And of course the Offensive Line was putrid, routinely getting manhandled on run blocking and pass protection. At one point after the Giants had made 21 pass attempts, Eli Manning was either hurried, hit or sacked on 17 of them. The final stats in that regard may have upticked, if only because the (prevent) defense relaxed.
The Giants defense fought valiantly at times, even if they too were overmatched. SEA's offense managed just 3 for 13 on 3rd down. All this while the Giants offense (1 for 10 on 3rd's) kept the Defense on the field with too many drives. Russell Wilson's legs and RB checkdowns kept the ball moving enough to get 23 points.
The Giants are 5-9. Next is Detroit on the road. Detroit has plenty of talent and even more underachievement. But they rate to trip up the Giants. And similarly, the Redskins rate to lose to the Giants. The final record is honing in on 6-10.
Cruz left the game with a concussion and knee sprain. On the play where Cruz got hurt, Manning threw the ball high, and Cruz (always the fighter) went up to get it. He paid for it in much the same way that Kevin Boss always paid for it, exposing himself to a beating. The Giants would be wise to shelve Cruz until 2014.
It was reported after the game via an Art Stapleton tweet that "One pre-SB 46 Giants player told me after the game this was as tension-filled a post-game locker room as NYG have had since he's been here." Met Life Stadium had plenty of no-shows from fans who opted out. John Mara, like his father, was not happy at halftime when his venerable franchise was also opting out. Changes are coming. Despite what LT said, it is expected that Coughlin's job is safe. But changes are coming.
I think it's beyond obvious that Gilbride has to go. The difficult question is: Who do we replace him with? I would love to have Mike Sullivan back. Eli hasn't been the same since he left. And he put up career numbers when he was here as his QB coach. I think we might have let a good one slip away. Just look at the difference he has made for Tampa Bay's offense. I do know that I want a guy who has some innovative plays . A guy who can take advantage of the weapons we do have on offense.
dbs50 wrote: "How much of this offense is Coughlin's and how much of it is Gilbride's?" And, what I always wondered is: how much input does Eli have? Or is he comfortable with Gilbride because Gilbride, on his own or at Coughlin's behest, is disposed to the longer passing game that Eli (not to mention many QBs) might be partial to?
Re Gilbride: once again I bring up his son coaching the receivers, who have seriously underperformed (even Cruz isn't as dependable as usual). Can Giants at least consider replacing him?
I know there is a drumbeat to fire KG and that may or may not have validity, but in my opinion what is clear is Jerry Reese's failed philosophy that you can turn anyone into a decent NFL offensive lineman. I was at the debacle yesterday and there really is a lot of talent, but that doesn't matter if the OL gets dominated. I really hope that Reese spends high draft picks on the OL, otherwise he will waste whatever time Eli has left.
The first two picks yesterday were definitely on Eli; he had to throw them back shoulder and got them too much in the middle of the field. We have no choice but to hope that Eli's subpar play this year is largely due to the OL disrupting the timing of the passing game. It's too bad the Giants will lose Nicks because they will then need a guy like Nicks, but he looks bored and needs to go. Overall though, if they get the OL overhauled the Giants are good enough elsewhere to contend.
People thought I was being overly optimistic last week when I said I thought it was a near certainty that GIlbride would be let go. Well, after yesterday's debacle, you can definitely see a change in the press coverage. Once that happens, the end is typically near. How things will play out with the other coordinators, and even with TC himself, remains to be seen. But, however counterintuitive it might sound, performing as ineptly as they did on offense yesterday was, in my book, a good thing, so long as it cemented in ownership's mind the need for a change. JR should in no way be let off the hook, as his failure to draft enough OL and to draft them well lies at the very root of the offense's problems. But a better, more innovative and flexible offensive coordinator would have adjusted. This team isn't in the league of the Seattles and San Franciscos and wouldn't be even if they had better coaching, IMO--at least this season. But they shouldn't be bottom-feeders either. At the very least, the Giants need someone who can come in and help Eli get back to 2011 form.
Eli is not an elite QB. He certainly has not played like one this year. He has thrown 25 INT's and although they are not all his fault, he does have to take the blame for many of them. There are a lot of factors at play here. We all know that the OL has been a disaster. Most of us on this blog feel that Gilbride's system is too regimented and he is inflexible. The fact that Nicks has quit on this team hurt Eli tremendously. Speaking of that, did you see Nicks "laughing" on the field yesterday? I was seething when I saw that. He can't wait to leave. Good riddance, we don't want players that mail it in. I remember in 2007 when Jerry Reese called Eli "skittish" and then of course we knew what happened after that. It might be plausible that Eli has been playing hurt this year. I say that because many of those long sideline passes have been under thrown this season. Coincidence? Maybe. Eli would never say it, but we might find out this off season. Andy said that changes are coming. I hope so, but I am not so sure. Eli likes Gilbride and that will weigh heavily. My hope is that Mara and Tisch see that the stadium was not full and tell TC that the OC has fallen way short. I just hope that the brain trust doesn't say we were injured on the OL and that's why we struggled. I am just not that optimistic that we will see the changes that we all want.
The team quit on TC and all the coaches. changes have to be made with the coaching staff, otherwise things will be the same in 2014. Definition of insanity is: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result". The Giants are doing the same things every game so we get the same result....lousy football.
I believe that next season Coughlin will be the 4th year of a 4 year deal. With the Giants this means that he will either be given at least a one year extension or pack his bags. It's almost as hard to believe that Coughlin at 67 wants an extension as it is for the Giants to offer him one.
I think Myers is wrong about short passes. The Giants have a quarterback who can throw the deep ball and in other years, throw it well. The west coast short ball offense was designed for the Joe Montanas of the world who didn't/don't have the kind of arm Eli does. The long ball opens the running game, which is what Coughlin loves. This year those passes get intercepted a lot of the time. That's the problem.
Forget about Gilbride and start thinking about a new head coach who can bring the good Eli back.
Re "changes are coming," more and more I'm seeing thoughts like this expressed (by Gary Myers today): "Kevin Gilbride’s antiquated offensive system, which relies too heavily on deep passes when the rest of the league is taking advantage of the hands-off rule by going to short passes and crossing routes."
Just need for that to go viral and Giants may feel pressure, as politicians do, to act.
All I have to say is I like Shannahan going for 2 with .19 seconds left to win the game and not go for the OT tie. He is on his way out anyway so why the hell not give it a try.
@MoSilkyMo That's a good observation re Sullivan, and one big takeaway that I cannot emphasize enough- there are plenty of younger coaches who are very hungry to make a difference. You are better off taking a chance on someone who has energy and is aggressive, rather than simply staying with the "devil you know." Of course this kind of thinking is at odds with the Giants "stability," which frowns on change for change's sake. But at a certain point, enough is enough. Coughlin brought in 2 new coordinators in 2007 and we got a title. I do not expect that kind of turnaround, but the point is that you have to embrace change. It is the only constant.
@pdmeyerh I for one had underestimated the criticality of the O-line to offensive success under the Coughlin system, until the past two seasons. The Seahawks debacle further emphasized how vitally important players like Snee are to the entire offense. When this O-line was good, a reporter asked Sean O'Hara what made it tick. He said Chris Snee, as the heart and soul of the line, and that they all fed off of him. Madden said Snee was one of the very best guards in the league. When his body betrayed him, as did Diehl's... well, the loss in talent and line continuity was all she wrote for this offense.
It's not like JR didn't see it coming. He brought in Baas for O'Hara, and Pugh in the first round. But JR expected Snee to still be that heart and soul, and he expected Baas and Beatty to play like their contracts indicated they'd play. All of that went to crap, and with it the the entire offense.
Mara ought to commission a big bronze plaque and hang it on the wall over the Giants draft board, reading "Games really are won and lost in the trenches."
@dbs50 I guess the assumption is that the offense is Gilbride's to orchestrate, without constraints or restrictions from his boss. That's however not what I understand to be the case. There's a significant difference between working with a white sheet of paper and doing it entirely your way, as opposed to working within restrictions and constraints from the boss that inhibit what you are allowed to do. How much of this offense is Coughlin's and how much of it is Gilbride's? If Coughlin de facto tore pages out of Gilbride's playbook (e.g. 4 wideout formation), then bringing in some young turk OC isn't necessarily going to add those pages or any new pages back. Coughlin is committed to his ways, and he wants Gilbride to produce his offense. But if he's forced to let him go, then he might therefore impose more restrictions and constraints on a new guy he didn't want running his offense than he has on Gilbride (i.e. put the new guy in a smaller box than the one he has Gilbride in). Lots of conjecture here, but I'm thinking letting Gilbride go isn't the magic answer to fixing the Giants' woes on offense. What I envision is Coughlin, Gilbride and Fewell staying, the offensive line problems being corrected by FA and the draft, and this time next season the Giants will be on course for another 9-7 season, Eli will be having a resurgence as they head into the playoffs, and bloggers will be opining that Gilbride was challenged to change as a coach, so his offense improved.
How can Eli like a coach like KG who constantly puts in terrible plays? I'd sure push for a new OC if I were Eli because things can only get worse if KG stays.
@mezzanineI agree. Eli is the worst dump off passer I have ever seen and it's just not his game. Amen to Tom being gone.
@capt george I do too but that might be the only thing I've ever liked. What is the definition of a loser? Someone who can't manage to get himself fired.
I'm ok with a young guy coming in. I'm actually in favor of it. Honestly can't say I know who's out there that fits that description to offer up a name. I'm more in favor of new as opposed to young. Like Chip Kelly is not so young but he has a new approach to offense. Even Belichick goes back and talks to college coaches to see where the trends are to adapt his coaching philosophy. The league has changed so much since 2007. And we know that defenses adapt quickly.
@buljos @dbs50 the 9-7 scenario is somewhat plausible, but underscores a point about how behind the curve that JR has been on the OL. Carl Banks on radio last night said that they have to bring in a parade of OLinemen, thru the draft/FA etc. Depending on how quickly they can protect Eli is how quickly the team can get turned around. But I really want to see Gilbride gone, because I know they can do better. Eli needs help/support and he's not getting it from the coaches.
I agree with you, but it is common knowledge that Eli is comfortable with Gilbride. If there are changes to be made then I believe it will come from Mara. He challenged TC to change his philosophy on coaching and relationships with his players after the 2006 season. Tom adapted and went on to great success. Let's hope Mara intervenes again.
@capt george @mezzanine Eli needs an OC who can help him with this part of his (short passing) game. All he really has had in (the last 7 years of) his career is the Great and Magnificent Gilbride, who can't coach up a screen to save his life. Eli has the skill to execute a competent dumpoff. He did it with Tiki, he can do it as an experienced veteran.
@ultimatenyg @buljos @dbs50 yeah... I can see your position. I don't really agree, but I see what you're saying and it's reasonable. I'm just not convinced JR has been behind the curve on the O-line. It's not as if the Giants were just an O-line away from the best team in the NFC. He had big problems stopping the run, and he committed a lot of resources to fixing that... quite well I'd argue. He drafted Pugh in the 1st, and the stats so far look like he's the better of almost every O-lineman taken in the first round. Did he not see Snee and Baas on IR this season? No, he didn't see that. Who did? What other GM would have? It's extremely difficult finding O-line value in the first or second rounds after winning the Super Bowl in 07 and 11, so he picked up guys when and where he could. Ok, he probably missed on an expensive FA signing in Baas from San Fran. What O-lineman in FA should he have signed instead of Baas? Ok, Beatty had a bad year, and made some dumb mistakes out there (like allowing his man to take an inside rush when he had TE help to the outside). Boothe's a serviceable starter whose probably better as a backup. The rest of the guys are definitely depth, so far. Maybe he could have not used two picks on Nassib this past draft and used both on O-linemen... who was available in the 4th? Barrett Jones went to the Rams 3 picks after Nassib. He has yet to see the field, even after the Rams were eliminated from contention. Earl Watford to the Cards 6 after Nassib. He has been inactive, and is inactive again for week 15. Khaled Holmes to the Colts 5 after Watford, has been in one game this season. None of them would have made a difference to the Giants O-line woes. I don't see that JR has been behind the curve on this O-line. I see severe, IR injuries to his pro bowl RG and 2nd round pick FA Center creating a void in the double A gaps that result in almost instant pressure in Eli's face, and that wrecked the offense.
@buljos @ultimatenyg @capt george @mezzanine You're right about the Oline. I believe the Giants have one player on the current roster who should starting on a solid team, Pugh, and he should be playing guard.
I honestly hope Reese doesn't go--he has been great from the 3rd round on--but changes are coming and I suspect he'll go out with the tide.
Coughlin has passed his use-by date and i think the ownership knows this.
@ultimatenyg @capt george @mezzanine You may be right. It may be that even though TC places restrictions on what Gilbride can and cannot do within TC's offense, certainly plays that make defenses pay for being overly aggressive isn't one of them. I'm no football guru by any stretch, but in my humble opinion, until they can deal with double A gap pressure presented regularly by teams like the Panthers, Cards, etc., Eli's effectiveness will be largely diminished. The loss of 2nd round pro bowl level talent like Snee and Baas to IR, replaced by Cordle, Booth, over-the-hill Diehl, and whomever else they can plug in there isn't going to protect a QB who isn't highly mobile and can roll out and throwing to receivers who know that if they keep fighting to get open. We all see other teams without mobile QBs (e.g. Broncos, Pats) deal with that kind of pressure by expertly executing dump-offs, screens, misdirections, short crossing etc routes to TEs and slots, but those plays don't seem to be within Gilbride's well rehearsed bag of tricks. As a result, Ds have found a rather simple solution to neutralize the Giants offense. Will replacement of Gilbride correct that? Probably... but even if they kept Gilbride, as long as JR puts pro bowl caliber A gap protection on the field too, it'll get much better. Snee may or may not be done with too many hip operations, but if he's got a good season in him and he's willing to renegotiate his contract, they ought to bring him back. He was the heart and soul of that line, and Madden called him one of the best guards in the league.