I discovered Big Blue View during training camp this past season and was enthralled by your all-encompassing coverage of all things Giants and have been hooked since. No other online site offers the depth of passionate, yet rational and detailed reviews of the world of our favorite team and I will continue to be a reader for as long as you continue to post. Thank you for bringing us Giants fans all that we can consume about “the Jints”!
Now for the meat of this communication: what is wrong with this team? Be prepared for a long, rambling exposition of my feelings about Big Blue. First of all, I was not a fan of organized sports growing up; being a Navy brat and moving from state-to-state every two or three years prevented me from connecting with any local team, aside from the fact that I derived more satisfaction from playing sports than watching them. I have vague memories of rooting for Mickey Mantle and his Yanks, only to be disappointed by consecutive losses in the World Series in 1963-64. It wasn’t until 1968 that I remember following another team closely: the Colts as they steamrolled through the NFL season only to trip over their own feet in the Super Bowl as I watched wrapped in a blanket (we lived in Honolulu at the time!), trying to hide from and ignore the shrieks of joy and derision from my Jet-loving family members…
I moved to New Jersey to attend college in the fall of 1969 and thus began my love-hate affair with the Giants, beginning with a season-opening come-from-behind 24-23 win over the reigning Central Division champion Vikings, highlighted by two fourth-quarter TD passes from Fran Tarkenton to a rookie wide receiver, Newark, NJ’s, own Don Herrmann. The ups and downs of the next forty-one years are well-known to all long-time Giantistas and don’t require repeating, but my heart has both swelled and been wrung out through every moment. Since outsourcing forced me to leave NJ and move to the Midwest in ’05, I don’t get to watch many Giants games, but I follow them religiously via BBV and other online sites as well as watching the games via NFL.com’s play-by-play tracking and listening to WFAN’s game broadcasts online. That is why this past season, painful though it might be, was sadly not surprising: I could see early there are cracks in our heroes’ armor that are many and sizeable and, after the debacle that was the 2009 season, was concerned from the start.
Let’s start with the obvious – this team has no personality, no strength of character. This is not to say that the players don’t want to win or don’t try, but why is it so difficult to get up for a game, particularly against lesser opponents? That starts at the top – it’s frustrating that one game they can massacre the now-playoff-bound but still mediocre Seahawks and then mail it in against the arch-rival Cowboys the next week (let alone the total failure to produce in a vital game against the Packers in week 16). The Patriots under Belichick have never had those incredible yo-yo swings in emotion – they may get beaten but they fight hard and SMART every game. George Allen always played the “us against them” game and his Redskins intensity never seemed to waver. Yes, this is a different generation of players but the point is that they can’t seem to decide from one week to the next whether they are wolves or sheep. I have never been a Tom Coughlin fan and his frequent visible bewilderment during games sometimes seems to manifest an inability to motivate his players. I give him credit for what he has accomplished and the players apparently like him, but I will hope his tenure doesn’t extend beyond 2011.
We can factor in the injuries – which were substantial and to many key players – and the changes in defensive coordinator over the last three years (and the possibility that we may see the need for a fourth next season if Perry Fewell gets a head coaching nod) and the addition of new players but still come to the same conclusion you so cogently made in the Big Blue View Mailbag: End Of Season Edition posting Thursday the 6th: this was NOT a championship team. My fears are that this version of it may never be with the weaknesses you and other correspondents you’ve quoted for us have pointed out.
BTW, maybe the Giants should consider doing a Jerry Jones (did I actually say that?) and pay Fewell mondo bucks and/or promise him to succeed TC to keep him here. What is your take on that approach? When he’s not being slow to adjust over halftime or sticking to a strategy that is simply not right for the personnel he has, Fewell HAS made a difference in the defense – though that could also be attributed to the resurgence of Osi Umenyiora, the return to health of Chris Canty, the development of Jonathan Goff and Jason Pierre-Paul and the addition of Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle. Should he take significant credit for the defense’s improvement (in addition to the blame we already have heaped on his shoulders for its failures) and be encouraged to stay?
Eli Manning has the worst mechanics of any regular starting pocket quarterback that I have ever seen. He throws so many passes falling back (and I hate to point out that his brother stands in and takes those hits – is Eli afraid to?) or off the wrong foot (often when completely unnecessary) and at times is so wildly inaccurate that it’s shocking when he does get on one of his hot streaks. He also makes far more mental errors than a supposedly top-flight QB should. He may be trying to make things happen when those around him are not but he needs to recognize when the better part of valor is to take the sack or throw it into the cheap seats. From very early in his career I could see he had a knack for the two-minute drill and often wondered why the Giants didn’t go to a no-huddle offense where he seemed to shine. That shine seems to have diminished as his late-game performances this year have underwhelmed (and don’t make me start about OC Kevin Gilbride!).
And, though you said “I'm past the whole leadership thing with him”, he needs to stop broadcasting his moods because the offense (and at times the whole team) feeds off the QB whether he intends to be a leader or not. If something goes wrong, either get pissed and yell at someone who messed up or play The Great Stoneface. These skills CAN be learned. I know the Giants have had QB coaches before but since Chris Palmer left, Eli has regressed in many ways. The Giants need to bring in a QB specialist, even if only as a consultant.
I can go on, but you’ve already covered most of what I would discuss. I can only say, keep up the excellent work and, like all Giants fans, I will look forward to next year with the usual combination of optimism combined with fear and trepidation!