After reading through several threads - more specifically, the most recent Open Sunday thread - a lot of you in Giants Land are of the opinion that Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese are on the "Hot Seat" and their jobs are on the line if the Giants don't produce a winning team this season. The reasoning behind this includes the disappointing playoff loss in 2008 and the lackluster 8-8 team from last season.
For these reasons some of you assume that both the Head Coach and General Managers jobs are on the line. It's for these same reasons that I believe you few are complete idiots.
Just for reference, here are the stats for the 2009 NYG season:
8-8, 402 points scored (ranked #8), 427 points allowed (ranked 30th). Point differential of -25.
If you look at the point differential, as well as the defensive points allowed rank, you would think this was a horrible team in need of serious rebuilding. Hell, you might mistake our defense for the Bucs (27th in point allowed); however, the story behind the 2009 Giants defense is that of loss. We lost one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. We lost quite a few first-string players. In essence, we lost our entire defense last season from the head on down to the players that can execute the best.
So, we had to replace the defensive coordinator, and we did so by hiring from within the organization - an approach that is generally favored when it comes to complex masking schemes that Steve Spagnuolo liked to employ. Unfortunately, a lot of things didn't work out.
First off, Bill Sheridan did not fit in the coaching style of Tom Coughlin or Steve Spagnuolo. Both Tom and Steve are very vocal, very emotional coaches. They want to be on the field, get their players pumped, and be a part of the game. Sheridan, from day one, wanted to be in the booth. He is not the type of coach that can motivate players and be as personal with them as the team needed him to be.
Second, Sheridan was not ready for the position of a professional football defensive coordinator. Whatever the case may be, players found themselves confused and frustrated on the field, so they lost faith in the coordinator.
Third, whether it was through complexity, length, or just an overall dissatisfaction with the coach, key players on our defense were unable to cope with the defensive scheme that Sheridan came up with.
For all of these reasons - and the loss of key players, as well as a few playing hurt the entire season - our defense was horrendous, and lost us more games than a lack of offense did.
On offense we faired rather well. the 402 points scored (ranked #8) was the third highest number scored in the Coughlin era, with only the 2005 and 2008 campaigns scoring higher. In both of those seasons we were ranked #3 in total offense in the league. For the record, the 2007 Super Bowl winning team scored 373 points, ranking #14 in the league.
Despite Brandon Jacbos' lack of performance (who, by the way, is quickly talking himself out of a job in New York), the offense still scored enough points to keep the point differential to a minimum. In spite of the offensive line struggling in the run blocking, and giving up too many sacks, the offense still managed to keep the Giants in most of the games last year.
Sure, the offensive output in 2009 was down from the output in 2008, but the total dropoff was not as significant as many people would have you believe. with the improvement in the offensive line, and a removal of Jacobs from the starting role - as well as an anticipated improvement in the performance of Nicks - I would look for the 2010 Giants to have a successful offensive campaign this seasons.
Now, let's talk about records.
This 8-8 season was also only the second time in the Coughlin era where the Giants failed to make the post-season, with the 2004 season - his first as head coach - being the only other time. Interestingly, Coughlin has 3 winning seasons, 2 .500 seasons, and only 1 losing season as the Giants head coach.
As the Giants head coach he's 55-41-0, that's a 57.2% winning percentage (.572). That's not too shabby in the NFL, where a .500 record could land you in the playoffs. Oh, by the way, he has a Super Bowl ring.
In other words, Coughlin brought to this organization what hasn't been here since Bill Parcells: a winning tradition. Fassel and Reeves? They had a combined 5 winning seasons, 1 .500 season, and 5 losing seasons. Quite frankly, in the short tenure that coughlin has been here he has been at least as successful as both Fassel and Reeves combined. That's 11 seasons worth of football compared to Coughlin's 6 with the Giants.
For the above reason I also think that Reese's job isn't on the line. While the Super Bowl winning Giants were more a work of Ernie Accorsi, Jerry Reese's work showed off in the 2008 season with a 12-4 record, the #3 ranked offense, and the #5 ranked defense. Defensively, I'd blame the 2009 campaign on a combination of a bad coordinator and injuries; however, on offense that work again showed that he's capable of selecting legitimate players by having the #8 ranked offense in the league.
The talent is still there - it was just injured and confused last season. We'll have to see what happens this season, but I can pretty much assure you that unless there is a massive player uprising, or the Giants somehow manage to post a sub-500 season (unless Eli goes down, this isn't happening), neither Tom Coughlin nor Jerry Reese will be on the chopping block in the offseason.