We know how we all feel about the pitiful state of the football team currently marauding as the once-proud New York Giants. Let's sample a little of the reaction from around the Inter-Google following Sunday's 40-17 slaughter at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the middle of a column is which he accurately states that the Giants put on a "staggering show of ineptitude," Ian O'Connor of NorthJersey.com addresses the elephant in the room for the Giants offense. Meaning, how badly injured is Eli Manning? Eli will, and has, said he is fine. Coach Tom Coughlin won't talk about Eli's plantar fasciitis. O'Connor went to General Manager Jerry Reese for thoughts on that, and Reese did not skirt the subject.
"I think Eli’s foot is bothering him some," said Giants GM Jerry Reese, "but he’s out there and he’s giving it his best. Obviously he’s not 100 percent, but I don’t know if anybody’s 100 percent at this point of the season.
"I have confidence Eli will pull out of it."
If Manning shares Reese’s faith, his body language said otherwise. Eli had no zip on the ball, and almost no willingness to step into a throw.
SI.com's Peter King this morning named Eli his 'Goat of the Week.' King, by the way also dropped the Giants out of his 'Fine Fifteen' for the first time this season.
For the first five weeks of the year, Eli looked like Peyton. For the past three weeks, he's looked like Danny Kanell -- inaccurate, unnecessarily risky and unsure of himself. Totally bizarre. Like the throw he made to Asante Samuel on the Giants' first series; at least it appeared to be intended for Samuel, who stepped in front of tight end Travis Beckum and picked it off, leading to the second touchdown for Philly. Manning threw another one just before the half, setting up another touchdown, and by then it was over. The Giants have to hope it's just a minor slump, because if Manning keeps throwing to the other team like this, and completing balls at a rate lower than 50-percent (which he's doing the past three weeks), New York's going to be out of the pennant race by Thanksgiving weekend.
Don Banks, also of SI.com, also discussed Eli's injury.
Manning seems to be sailing a lot of his passes high over his receivers' heads, and that's probably an indication he not's real comfortable planting his feet and following through on his throws.
My take: I have to agree with the sentiment that Eli is just not right. He is tough, and he will never admit being affected. The incredibly high number of off-target throws are reminiscent of the player Eli was at the beginning of his career, not the player he is now. He is better than this, and we have to hope he finds a way to deal with the foot problem and gets back to making the throws that need to be made.
Coughlin is facing a crisis now, maybe his worst one since the 0-2 start in 2007. Yes, there was the Plaxico Burress mess, but that was an off-the-field disaster largely beyond his control.
This? His Giants are imploding and Coughlin doesn’t seem to have the foggiest why it is happening. They have fallen from 5-0 to 5-3, fallen from the NFC’s elite to third place in their division, and the pratfall is magnified by how poorly they are playing.
They were noncompetitive in this 40-17 loss to the Eagles yesterday, outclassed in all phases. The defense gave up plays of 66, 54 and 41 yards, all for touchdowns. The quarterback threw two killer interceptions in the first half and overthrew a half dozen open receivers.
The coach, asked for answers, had none.
"I’m just as frustrated as the next guy," Coughlin said. "We’ve found our way out of these situations in the past."
Coughlin has done some of his best coaching when the Giants are facing a crisis, and he has one on his hands now. They play four of their next five games at home, but all five are against teams with winning records.
Are the Giants arrogant? ProFootballTalk.com
The root cause could be a level of arrogance that the talent level on the team doesn't justify.
"We keep talking about 'Well, that team ain't better than us. We just didn't play good,'" defensive end Justin Tuck said. "After three weeks in a row, something is not clicking the way it needs to be. We've got to look ourselves in the mirror and get this ship right. Now."
it appears that the 5-0 start was influenced in large part by the fact that the Giants primarily played bad teams (Redskins, Bucs, Chiefs, Raiders). Their only impressive victory came at Dallas, but it arguably wasn't a game the Giants won as much as it was a game the Cowboys lost.
So the reality could be that the Giants haven't lost their magic. The reality could be that, this year, they simply don't have any -- and that they're going to be the last ones to figure it out.
My take: This is a good point. We have said it over and over, but it is pretty obvious the Giants are not as good as they think they are. It's time for them to stop talking and start playing.
New York Giants defense lays egg
The Giants have lost their way. It happens to good NFL teams sometimes during the course of a long season, and it isn't necessarily fatal when the record still says five wins and three losses at the midway point. But this peculiar form of amnesia usually doesn't afflict the Giants, who have an institutional memory for conventional power football on both sides of the ball.
Unlike the Jets, the Giants always are supposed to know who they are. But now Tom Coughlin's team has dropped three straight against strong opponents in very disturbing fashion, doing things that Giants just don't do.
They are missing tackles, giving the football away, flubbing assignments. Five different Eagles either caught passes or rushed in plays that gained 20 or more yards from scrimmage.
"We're a complete embarrassment," Antonio Pierce said, after the 40-17 loss to the Eagles. "We're just a bad defense right now. We went from a team that was very disciplined to a team not doing the right things. ... It's mind-boggling. Twenty-one days. ... Three weeks."
My take: That is about the most insightful, and accurate, thing Pierce has said to the media all season.