By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
Approach to the Game: Over the course of the last few years, I have had a few people e-mail me with very reasonable requests to not use profanity in our game previews and reviews, arguing that such talk is offensive and unnecessary, cheapens the site, and is a bad influence on younger readers. I think these are all very accurate criticisms. But I have to be honest.
This has been a really shitty week.
The mostly positive feelings that came out of the opener against the Carolina Panthers have seemingly evaporated with the drubbing the Giants received by the Indianapolis Colts. Flashbacks to the end of 2009 season are unavoidable. Against the Colts, the defense could not stop the run or the pass. The offense had trouble running and passing. The Giants lost the turnover battle. Perhaps most damning, the other team – a team not known for being very physical – was clearly the more physical team on both sides of the ball. Brandon Jacobs threw his helmet into the stands, wanted to be traded, then didn’t want to be traded. Antrel Rolle publicly ripped his fellow teammates and coaches. Coaches met with players. Players met with other players. This shit isn’t supposed to happen in week two, especially for a team that is still tied for first place in its division.
Of course all of this proved to be plenty of fuel for those strange Giants’ fans who seem to consciously or subconsciously revel in their team’s troubles. There are those who think it is the fault of the coaches. There are those who think it is the fault of the players. There are some who think it is both. Everyone has an opinion about what is wrong. And they are damn sure going to let everybody else know about it.
For those who have not noticed, I tend to take a contrarian view of things. When the Giants are winning, I tend to try to dampen expectations. When the Giants are losing, I tell fans it isn’t as bad as it appears. I know this pisses off a lot of people on the website, but I tend to think the contrarian point-of-view tends to be more right than wrong. It’s never as good or bad as it seems.
Now that said, this has been a really shitty week. And negative thoughts have permeated my mind, such as:
- Maybe this team just isn’t that good. The Giants screwed up by not bringing in more NFL-caliber tight ends. Bear Pascoe is not an NFL-quality player. He can’t block and he’s not a threat to catch the football. Travis Beckum is a bulked up wide receiver who can’t block. Kevin Boss is the only viable tight end on the roster and he is coming off yet another concussion. For a team that depends so heavily on the tight end in both run and pass blocking, this is inexcusable. Even with a healthy Boss, the Giants can’t run a legit two-TE formation without bringing out an extra offensive lineman. Speaking of the line, whether it is declining ability, the injury to Shaun O’Hara, or the line being out of sync because it did not work together all camp and the preseason, the Giants are not getting the job done up front. And the fullback has gone from a road grader to a position blocker. In other words, the Giants don’t seem to be very good blockers anymore. And that’s a huge problem for ANY offense. If you can’t block, you can’t consistently move the football no matter how good your quarterback, receivers, and runners are.
- The Giants are missing something on defense. Many think it is the leadership of Michael Strahan. That could be the case. But the Giants were 11-1 without Michael in 2008. Maybe it’s Steve Spagnuolo. Whatever it is, the Giants don’t seem to dictate to anyone on defense. Where is the intimidation? Where is the confidence? Confidence comes from demonstrated ability. For the last two years, there hasn’t been enough of the latter. What is brutally clear is that the defensive players think much more highly of themselves than their play shows. Hey guys, until proven otherwise, you’re not that good. Shut up.
- Tying in my first two points, has this team become too soft? Both offensively and defensively? Is this team now too finesse? It is difficult to argue otherwise offensively. Defensively, it’s still early, but the Colts game was certainly very disconcerting. Toughness matters in the NFL.
- Are we starting to see a repeat of the end of Coughlin’s tenure in Jacksonville? Are the players tuning him out? If Coughlin retired today, he would forever go down as one of the great coaches in Giants’ history based on 2007 alone. But the Giants have been blown out in three of their last four regular season games. Those three games were not even competitive, all three were over by halftime. That’s unacceptable. The Giants have talent issues, but they are not that bad.
So this is some of the negative shit that has even been bouncing around my deranged mind this week. It’s made me an unpleasant figure to be around. But in my almost 30 years of watching football, I do know one thing. Winning cures a multitude of sins. Win and much of this shit goes away. The sun rises. And life is good again.
The Giants need a win. Desperately. To go to 2-1 and remain in first place. To erase self-doubt. To shut up the outside doubters. To feel good again. To become confident again.
Lose this week and things are only going to get worse. Get blown out, and the season may be over before it really started. And we all know what that means. Rebuilding time and the only ones who are guaranteed to survive the coming offseason purge are Jerry Reese and Eli Manning.
Giants on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams: No X’s and O’s talk this week. This game is about one thing. And Bob Papa said it best:
- “What (the Giants) need to do is get back to that mentality up front where they can go and dominate people. And you are not going to get a better test than the Titans and their front. (The Titans) are going to test your manhood… They are going to punch you in the mouth and you better be ready to punch them back. And if you don’t, they are going to look to bully you around all day long.”
Are the Giants men? Or pussies?
We should know the answer by 4PM.