Letters to the Editor: September 26, 2013

Calmer heads prevail in today’s batch.

David L. writes…
As a lifelong Giants fan I remember the bad old days and Coughlan has brought us two Super Bowls and for that I am eternally grateful. The thing I don’t understand about the coach and Gilbride is Eli functions best in the no-huddle 2-minute offense.

When the team is down by two plus touchdowns, can you explain why they keep huddling up? Every team in the league it seems is going no huddle to limit defensive substitutions and get defenses on their heels. I just don’t understand why when the team is reeling; they don’t go to the no-huddle especially when the offense is in such a slump. Eli has proven over the years when he is having a subpar game, his focus goes up a notch or two and the team typically moves the ball much better. Your thoughts?

David, the problem with relying heavily on no-huddle is that it limits your options. With that said, I do believe that it might be worth it to try opening up in no huddle just to establish some sort of rhythm – I think we can all agree that the offense has been off-balance the majority of the time and if you need a jump-start, you can certainly try the no-huddle to do that. However, you can’t stay with it for the entire game.

Nat K. writes…
With all due respect I must express my strongest disagreement with your response to my comment. If after watching the first quarter you thought there was the slightest possibility of winning the game we were watching two different games.

I agree with your implied thought that the primary obligation of a coach is to try to win games. But as an individual who has some humanitarian and some practical instincts a coach does not put his primary asset at risk in a lost cause. Manning could not possibly pull out a victory when lying on his back or running for his life. On the other hand a serious injury to Manning would definitely doom the Giants to the worst losing season in their storied history.

Nat, I have seen many teams start out rocky in the first quarter, only to settle down as the game went on. I do agree that Manning can’t do anything if he’s lying on his back all the time, but in trying to acknowledge that there was effort, I thought that had they settled down after that rough quarter, they might have had a chance. Unfortunately, they were rattled beyond saving.

Chris D. writes…
I have been a Giant fan since 1952, and offer the following perspective from the long term view:

Things are bad right now and there do not seem to be any immediate fixes, other than hopefully to have players like Snee, Baas and others heal completely to see if they can still contribute at a professional level.

I share the disappointment in the lack of attempts at innovation by the coaching staff to compensate for the breakdowns of the older players.

But having said that, I believe in no way does the current situation compare to some of the awful periods of the past. I guess few fans remember the Allie Sherman era, the regular talent evaluation misses e.g. does anyone recall Joe Don Looney? And the times when we would look at the waiver wires to see who the Raiders had cut, who could represent significant talent upgrades to the Giant’s roster?

One of the things about modern society that really frosts me is the assumption by fans and indeed a huge percentage of our population, that they can know what is going on in someone else’s head. Unless a player comes right out and says they want to leave, it is hard to know how really motivated they are.

You can look to see if they appear to be hustling and hitting as hard as possible, but we don’t and cannot know how much their bodies will let them do. I agree with Couch Coughlin that pointing fingers is a cancer to the team, but conversely fiery speeches a la Ray Lewis have never been shown to be a positive influence.

Leadership comes in many different forms but it always requires a statement of vision; executive competency (the ability to motivate); integrity and a willingness to put team goals above our own. I think Coach Coughlin has demonstrated he has these qualities and should be given our trust. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. Who would rather not have ex-Giant legends like Lombardi as a motivator or Belichick as a tactician? I suspect– but again cannot know–that  he is  not demanding enough of his staff. But all in all, he is a good choice to lead us in time of semi-crisis.

Jerry Reese probably received too much credit for our successes in the past but he clearly is a bright enough GM who is able to learn and does not need to be hit upside the head with a hammer more than once to put in place a plan to fix us. How long it will take I don’t know…but it will probably be less time than it has in some other places I have lived ( I am in Cleveland now and have watched some awful teams in Seattle for many years ( without of course ever  giving up my primary loyalty to the Giants)

Giant fans have been lucky– we have had our share of Ups to go with our Downs. How would you like to have lived and been a fan of the Lions or the Chiefs…or even the Jets?

Pat, your insights and clarity are even more appreciated  when things are not so rosy.

Chris, excellent letter and perspectives. Things are not as bad as they were in the 1970s, not by a long shot. And I think if each player truly takes a long hard look in the mirror and challenges himself to contribute to the solution, this team can turn it around. The problem, though, with anything, is that sometimes people have a distorted view of reality. Sometimes they deny that they are part of the problem when in fact they are. Unfortunately that’s always going to be the case no matter what organization you look at.

I am sure you remember this, but several years ago during a particularly bad season, the late Wellington Mara paid a visit to the locker room after a loss and in an uncharacteristic fit of anger, he flat out told the team that if there were players that didn’t want to be there, if there were guys just there to collect checks, they wouldn’t be long for the team. That got a lot of guys’ attention.

Look, it’s all good that they’re trying to stay positive and everything this week. I can certainly understand that approach. But the danger with it is that you sometimes lose touch with the reality of the situation because emotionally, you’ve swept it under the rug without even realizing it. That’s something I’m hoping this team hasn’t done because if they have, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

Kevin L. writes…
I think there were a few things in the Panthers loss that created a perfect storm of a disaster.  Baas and Snee don’t look healthy and that is obvious.  It looked like it took them a quarter to get loose. After the first quarter they weren’t great but it was a workable situation like the Dallas game.

The problem happened at the end of the half and the beginning of the second half when the defense started to collapse. Then special teams had a couple of blunders.  In the second half the defense got steamrolled by the Panthers running game robbing time of possession then receivers started dropping passes.

A great deal of things went wrong that game obviously but although KC’s defense is better the Giants could make this close and pull it out in the end.  Right now if the line can play like it did against Denver and Dallas, which was bad, they can have a chance.  They just can’t play horrendously.

Kevin, the fact of the matter is that the same problems that have been dogging this team since the first week of the preseason are continuing. I’ll give you that Baas and Snee aren’t healthy, but what was the excused for Will Beatty’s sloppy technique? What was the excuse for Da’Rel Scott not picking up a defender who rubbed off an offensive lineman when it was clear his job was to block?

The way I see it is that the Giants hit rock bottom last week. There is nowhere to go but up. I can’t say they’ll beat the Chiefs this weekend, but if they come out with a better effort, if they show fight and battle, that is a step in the right direction.

Joe K. writes…
Your Hits, misses, and musings was pretty spot on, but if I had to give a hit to just one player last week it would be David Wilson. It seemed he played hard until the end and was the one player who showed some emotion on the field, although it cost him a bad penalty. I also think his pass protection has been improving of late so there may be something to grasp at out of all this.

Joe, like I said, I could have picked out a few guys worthy of a “hit” but when a team has that big of a meltdown, I just couldn’t do it. The fans deserved better than what they got and as I said above, this weekend if the Giants show some spirited fight in their play against the Chiefs, win or lose, I’d take that as a positive sign.


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