Woe is us! Indeed! There is probably no one simple answer to how the Giants got to 0-5. Certainly, the media and internet are awash with fingers pointed at the Maras (but not the Tischs), G.M. Jerry Reese, head coach Ben McAdoo, QB Eli Manning, the offensive line, and all the rest of the usual suspects down the line, sometimes all at the same time.
The simplest answer as we see it, though, is that the Giants are 0-5 primarily because they couldn’t hold leads in the final couple of minutes of each of the past three weeks. In fact, one can make a pretty good case that the Giants are not much more than three plays away from being 3-2 and tied for the division lead. And that’s without the team playing very well overall. But by all means go ahead and blow the whole thing up!
In fact, the Giants have looked all the part – and we’ve seen it time and time again in sports – of a team coming off a breakout year and expecting to make another step forward in the new season. Instead, they turn up as flat as pancakes. Indeed, as we see it is, the biggest issue with the Giants this year has been that there just hasn’t been much intensity right across the board. It’s especially noticeable on defense, though, because playing defense in the NFL is all about intensity. Where the Giants’ D had people who were flying all over the field last year, the same guys just aren’t getting off blocks, they aren’t getting into the backfield, they aren’t swarming to the ball, and they’re aren’t exploding into tackles when they do get there.
So what’s it all mean going forward? Who knows! Time will only tell. However, what history has shown is that teams who have gone through what the Giants are currently going through usually come back the next year with a burr under their collective saddles and get back on the plus side.
And as frustrating as it has been, you don’t want to just waste the year. Or as Yogi – or maybe it was Daffy Duck – said, if you’ve got lemons make lemonade! If you are the Giants, who look like they are going to end up with a top 5 pick at the 2018 draft, what you want to do is take advantage of that early pick to add a quality player or two to an already decent roster and hopefully emulate 1983 and 2003. In 1983, for example, a rising young team somehow stumbled and bumbled its way to a 3-11-1 record and the 3rd pick in the 1984 draft where they selected OLB Carl Banks as the icing on the cake to what was already a suffocating defense. Just three years later the Giants won their first Super Bowl, not to mention a second four years after that. Then in 2003, a team that went to the playoffs the previous year got the 4th pick in the 2004 draft after collapsing to a 4-12 record. Of course, that pick produced QB Eli Manning and a third Super Bowl again just three years later and a 4th four years after that.
Needless to say there are no guarantees that lightning strikes a third time, but a pretty good case can be made that that the Giants’ core in 2017 is just as good, if not better than those in 1983 and 2003. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of issues that need to be addressed. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we’ll talk about some of those issues including the state of the offensive line, whether Jerry Reese and/or Ben McAdoo should stay or go, and which prospects at the 2018 draft might fit the Giants biggest needs.
Hang in there! It will get better!