Dec 242021
 
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THE STORYLINE:
It feels like everyone is piling on the New York Football Giants right now. They are, and deservedly so. The team is a mess and no one except those fans blinded by an absurdly high level of team loyalty refuses to accept this fact. What it boils down to is this: despite multiple coaching and dramatic personnel changes, the team simply is not getting better. You have to be blind, stupid, or have an agenda in order to not see it.

Enter the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that was supposed to be pulling up the rear in the NFC East in 2021. The Eagles are not good, as indicated by the fact that they are one of the few teams the Giants beat this season. They started off 2-5. But since then, the team has gone an impressive 5-2 and is now 7-7 and all-alone in second place in the division. That is where the Giants were supposed to be this year. Getting better. Offering hope for the future. That didn’t happen.

The Eagles are 12th in offensive yards gained. The Giants are 27th. The Eagles are averaging 26 points a game. The Giants are averaging 17. The Eagles are 10th in defense. The Giants are 25th. The Eagles are experiencing all of this with a rookie head coach (Nick Sirianni) and a 2nd-round quarterback drafted last year (Jalen Hurts).

But it’s not just the Eagles, Dallas is clearly the class of the division and looks like they will remain very competitive for the foreseeable future because of how well they have been drafting. The Washington Football team is well-coached and remains a tough team because it is strong up front on both sides of the ball.

The Giants are not closing the gap on these teams. Worse, they seem to be falling further behind. And don’t blame the injuries or COVID or any other pathetic excuse. As New York enters the 2022 offseason, it appears there are very few areas where the team has to be satisfied with, and that includes ownership, management, and coaching.

I want to finish by addressing the coaching issue since I’m already on record about the incompetence of ownership and management. I would’t be sounding so pessimistic if I came out of this season feeling good about the coaching staff. I did last year at this time, but I don’t anymore. I can’t recall one game in 2021 where I thought we clearly out-coached our opponent. At the top, Joe Judge’s in-game management has been questionable at best. You’d be hard-pressed to find any Giants fan who thinks the offensive side of coaching staff is innovative (plus the Giants have already fired one offensive coordinator this year). The defense started the season poorly, got better, but has been-and-down for the most part. Most troubling is the way this staff gets out-coached in the last two minutes of the first half of EVERY game. The Giants have achieved what should be impossible, being out-scored 65-0 in these situations. Indeed, a couple of times in recent weeks, the Giants’ offense has had the ball in plus territory with 90 seconds left on the clock. And not only does the offense not score, but the opponent still manages to put points on the board. And again, the Giants hired a special teams coordinator to be their head coach, but the special teams never really stands out either. WTF? The thing that is also making me feel queasy are that Judge’s press conferences are becoming long-winded messes. You would think he would have learned from Bill Belichick in this area.

In the Super Bowl era, the two greatest head coaches the Giants have had were Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin. But even these two were under heavy criticism before they won NFL Championships. (Coughlin was also heavily attacked after 2011). The Giants also had coaches such as Ray Perkins, Dan Reeves, and Jim Fassel who were far less loved. But there were moments where their NYG teams really shined and fans felt optimistic about the future. Perkins and Reeves surprisingly took teams to the playoffs. Jim Fassel had three playoff teams, including one that went to the Super Bowl. Hell, Fassel’s teams used to own the Eagles, winning nine in a row at one point (more on that below). There were many games where fans felt that we had out-coached the opponent (just ask Redskins fans how Dan Reeves used to torment them with the halfback pass from Dave Meggett).

Let’s hope the coaching staff finishes up on a high note. The Eagles, Bears, and WFT are not world-beaters. These last three games will be very telling.

THE INJURY REPORT:
*It is not likely that any of the Reserve/COVID-19 List players will play on Sunday.

  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (neck – out)
  • FB Cullen Gillaspia (shin)
  • *WR John Ross (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (oblique/COVID ramp up – questionable)
  • WR Collins Johnson (hamstring – out)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle)
  • OT Andrew Thomas (ankle)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (ankle – out)
  • NT Austin Johnson (foot – questionable)
  • DL Leonard Williams (triceps)
  • *LB Cam Brown (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • LB Oshane Ximines (COVID ramp up – questionable)
  • *CB Adoree’ Jackson (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • * Aaron Robinson (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • *CB Keion Crossen (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • S J.R. Reed (COVID ramp up – questionable)

THE FINAL WORD:
Given that it is Christmas, I wanted to end on a positive note and remind Giants fans that there was a time when this team played meaningful football games against the Philadelphia Eagles in December and January. If anything, just watch the first couple of minutes of the following…

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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