Letters to the Editor: December 16, 2013

The debate regarding the team’s future takes center stage.

Mike M. writes…
I am sure there will finger pointing by one and all today, so I guess I will join in. It may well be time for Coughlin and/or some/all of his staff to go. And certainly many players have either underperformed or just don’t have the talent–the offensive line (especially Brewer), Nicks (who hasn’t shown a lot of effort all season), Kiwanuka (who only gets mentioned when he commits a dumb personal foul), etc.

But I think that the general manager really needs to be called out for his dismal performance over the past several years. The disparity in talent between the Giants and the Seahawks was staggering.

And what’s even more alarming is that the Seahawks have rebuilt quickly over the past few years and many of their solid contributors are mid- to lower-round draft picks. It seems that our drafts have been especially poor since Reese was elevated from scouting to general manager. I would think that our scouting department really needs to be revamped.

Finally, overarching all these problems is Eli’s decline. I have stated several times that I thought Eli wasn’t great last year, especially in the 4th quarter where he used to shine. And this year has been abysmal.

Yes, the line’s performance, the lack of a consistent running game and poor receiver play (again Nicks, and Meyers especially) have certainly not helped, but the fact is that Eli has made way too many poor decisions and even worse throws.

Let’s be honest, this franchise is in big trouble if this season is an indication that Eli is in a rather steep decline. If that’s the case, it could be years before the Giants contend again. I hope I’m wrong.

Mike, I agree with you about the drafting. I’m not so sure the Giants are getting enough out of their draft picks and that’s either a result of poor drafting, player development (coaching), the drafted players just not being a fit for what the coaches want to run, or a combination of all the above.

I do think that they will continue with the current set up regarding the draft, which contrary to popular belief, is not run by Jerry Reese, but rather by Marc Ross. I’m curious to see what happens moving forward.

Mike D. writes…
Did you write the same thing after the Saints game in 2006 before Tiki saved his job in DC? Did you write the same thing after Favre sent them to 0-2 in 2007? Or how about after the final game at the old Giants Stadium in 2009 vs Carolina? Or the collapse vs Philly in 2010 and the blowout the next week in Green Bay? Or how about the Monday night disaster in New Orleans in 2011?

It is ridiculous to suggest Coughlin lost the team because of a lousy showing in a meaningless game against a great team. In your final paragraph you wrote about how Coughlin has a history of second-half collapses and etc… he also has a history of two Super Bowl rings.

I respect you as a writer but this article is ridiculous. It is very Gary Myers of you, and no, that is not a compliment. I’ll take my chances next season with Eli and Coughlin.

Mike, let me fill you in on a little history on what I wrote during the Coughlin era.

Almost every day I received letters from distressed readers bemoaning the fact that he was a disaster waiting to happen, that he wouldn’t last, that the Giants made a mistake, etc.

And every response I gave was the same. Coughlin would be just what the Giants needed. In fact I was so intent in my defense of him, even before he became a kinder and gentler coach, that we lost a few readers. (They thankfully came back after they realized they were too harsh on Coughlin.)

My respect for the man himself and the job he has done hasn’t changed one bit, but there comes a time when you have to realize that winning two Super Bowls doesn’t mean you’re going to win them again.

At some point you have to move on. Each football team is unique and what worked for the 2007 team might not be the best way to handle the 2013 team. So you have to adjust, and if you don’t, you’re not going to have solid results.

Since football is a “what have you done for me lately” game, let’s look at some facts. 

  • After posting a 6-2 record in the first half of last season, this team has gone 8-13 since, and has missed the playoffs two years in a row.
  • The problems that are dragging this team down—turnovers, miscommunication, you name it—are happening practically EVERY week. Last week, Mathias Kiwanuka, in a response to a question I asked about whether there’s been a recurrence of some the problems that were supposed to have been cleaned up, he agreed.

In addition, here is a history of how the Giants offense and defense has ranked under their current coordinators:

 

Offense

Overall Run Pass

2007

16

4

21

2008

7

1

18

2009

6

12

11

2010

5

6

10

2011

8

32

5

2012

14

14

12

2013

25

27

16

 

Defense

Overall Run Pass

2010

7

8

9

2011

27

19

29

2012

31

25

28

2013

10

11

15

 

I realize that Coughlin and company don’t have a lot of choices regarding making changes on their roster right now, which puts them at a disadvantage. I admire him for wanting to win games even though he’s potentially hurting the team’s draft position.

I understand that he didn’t put the roster together. But there are some things he can control, such as his staff. Just like he changed his ways when dealing with the players after the 2006 season, he can refresh his staff and his handling of players that don’t give the effort he expects.

By failing to do so because those players might give him the best chance to win, he’s sending the wrong message, a message that mediocrity is okay.

For what it’s worth, I believe management is going to stick with Coughlin and Manning, the latter of whom is another person I rigorously defended when he was drafted.

However, you can’t argue with the recent results and that is this team has struggled in a horribly weak division. Something needs to give if this team is going to return to being a contender.

Lastly, there is no such thing as a “meaningless game” during the regular season. Yes, the playoffs are gone, but it’s downright scary how some of these players act as though they’re entitled to be on an NFL roster instead of proving every week that they deserve to be there.

Those same players are dragging this team down and have been for a good part of the season.

One last point. I’ve always said that it’s much harder (and less fun) to cover a team when it’s losing. This year is no exception.

I have an obligation as part of my job to offer analysis based on research and comments from the applicable parties. I always welcome spirited debate beyond the general sweeping commentary that denounce what I’ve presented. If my opinions don’t appease the masses, then I welcome anyone to counter with a researched rebuttal, as I have no problem admitting being in error if presented with the corresponding evidence.

Gene P. writes…
Did the Giants give a good amount of playing time to the younger guys who have the potential to be very good players? Obviously the experience would help them develop. Thanks.

Here are the snap counts for the young players this week.

  • Larry Donnell: 6
  • Brandon Mosley: 34
  • Jerrell Jernigan: 24
  • Dallas Reynolds: 5
  • Jayron Hosley: 10
  • Markus Kuhn: 10
  • Damontre Moore: 19
  • Johnathan Hankins: 24
  • Charles James: 1

Marcus Dowtin was only active on special teams, as was Michael Cox. Adrien Robinson and Ryan Nassib were inactive

Chris B. writes…
There comes a point in an organizations history where you can honor the past without being trapped by it. Quite simply it is time for a coaching change for The New York Giants.

Tom Coughlin has done a wonderful job with this time for the most part, but the last two years have seen the same frustrating mistakes made with little or no accountability by the players, coaches and yes the general manager.

Before the Mike Francessa’s of the world tell you that Tom Coughlin has earned the right to leave when he wants, I remind you that Tom Landry, part of the Mount Rushmore of the NFL, was fired.

Don Shula the winningest coach in NFL history was asked to jump so that he would be spared the pain of being fired. As Bill Parcells said, at some point they stop listening. That point has arrived.

As for Kevin Gilbride he should’ve been shown the door some time ago. This is a young man’s game and it’s time for a new voice to be heard.

Chris, excellent points. Look, I respect Coughlin a lot and think he’s one of the best head coaches this franchise has had since Parcells in my lifetime. He took a team that was in the rubles and restored pride in the football part of it.

The issue though—and I really hate to use this as a point—is that this team is probably headed for a rebuild. Does it make sense to retain Coughlin, who is getting up there in age, for another five years to lead it?

Certainly, you can say that he had this team competing after two years in as head coach, but it really came together about three years into his tenure.

The other issue is if you start from scratch with the coaching staff, does that set Eli Manning back if they bring in a coordinator who runs a completely different offense?

My best guess is that the team makes a few changes along the coaching staff, starting with special teams and the quarterbacks coach . I think they place a heavy premium in the offseason on the offensive line, very similar to what they did at defensive tackle last year.

And I think they retain Kevin Gilbride for another season on the assumption that if they fix the offensive line, improve the tight end spot, and get a quarterbacks coach in here that can help Manning fix some of his mechanics, maybe they can recapture the magic from a few years ago.

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