When the New York Giants were humiliated by the Atlanta Falcons a week ago I did 'Kudos & Wet Willies' by simply issuing a blanket 'Wet Willie' to the entire team. Maybe it is because this is Christmas Eve, but I won't do that today.
In the wake of Sunday's 33-14 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens I will hand out a couple of 'Kudos.' This was an embarrassing effort by the Giants, though, and this review will accordingly be overwhelmingly 'Wet Willies' heavy.
Here we go.
Kudos to ...
Let's get the few of these that are worth giving out of the way.
Steve Weatherford -- For starters, his leg didn't fall off. Weatherford had to punt eight times, and did a fantastic job. He averaged 52 yards per punt, with a long of 60 yards, and a net average of 45.2. Pretty telling, though, when the first 'Kudos' goes to the punter.
Chris Canty -- Before re-injuring his surgically repaired knee and probably ending his season Canty was one of the few Giants to play with passion, or make a positive impact. He had six tackles, two for loss. Too bad many of his teammates didn't seem to possess that same desire.
Will Hill -- The guy was a monster on special teams with three solo tackles, each of which was an excellent play. Pencil this young man in for an expanded role on the defense next season.
Wet Willies to ...
Corey Webster -- This might have been what Joe Flacco was saying in the Ravens' huddle. 'OK, pass play. Whoever is lined up with No. 23 the ball is coming to you.' That pretty much summed up the Ravens' game plan. Find Webster and attack. The veteran corner was helpless to do anything about it as the Ravens embarrassed him. He couldn't cover anybody and couldn't find or adjust to the football when he did manage to have decent position.
Eli Manning -- Manning was once again closer to Mark Sanchez than Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, something that has been the case far too often this season. Yes, he was under duress much of the game, but even when he wasn't his passes weren't crisp. Under-thrown deep balls or passes slightly behind receivers breaking open or just a little too high for guys to catch and have a chance to make a play in the open field have been commonplace, and that was the case Sunday.
Tom Coughlin -- When a team shows this type of lack of effort or emotion two weeks in a row with its season on the line the head coach has to take a hit. Maybe there is a natural emotional letdown on some level after winning a Super Bowl, but what has happened to the Giants the last two weeks has got to set some type of standard for historic ineptitude by a defending champion. Sandwiched around last season's Super Bowl this is looking like three playoff-less seasons. Coughlin and the Giants need to figure out why such wild swings in performance occur week to week and season to season.
Perry Fewell -- We will talk much more about Fewell going forward, but for now it has to be said that after watching the defensive coordinator run a pretty much defenseless group it's hard to imagine him getting many head-coaching offers this off-season. It isn't, however, hard to imagine lots of speculation about whether the Giants should replace him. What has Fewell done with the Giants' pass rush? And what, exactly, does he believe in? He's tried using three-linebacker sets, switched to two linebackers and three safeties and Sunday tried employing four linebackers. How in the world are you supposed to play defense when you keep switching personnel and styles on a weekly basis?
The Entire Defense -- I will exempt Canty, and maybe Antrel Rolle. and in terms of tackles there are a great many Giants whose numbers look OK. Fact is, though, the Giants couldn't do anything defensively and there are tons of tackles to be made when the opposition has the ball for more than 39 minutes. Webster gets a special 'WW' of his own, but his defensive cohorts are also guilty of not getting anything done.
Kevin Gilbride -- He can't block. He can't make Eil Manning throw straight. He can't fix Ahmad Bradshaw's knee or Hakeem Nicks' knee or foot. He can't get inside David Wilson's head and make Wilson learn faster. It seems, however, that the Giants' offense has become stale. When they try slants, receivers are covered. Back-shoulder fade? Same thing. Run the ball? Get nowhere. What's left? Chuck and duck, that's what. Throw the ball deep and pray. There's no continuity to this offense right now, and hasn't been for a while.
Offensive line -- Chris Snee was playing when he probably should have been in street clothes, and the same might be true of David Baas. You can be critical of Manning and Gilbride, and I have been here, but you can't get anything done when there is no place to run and no time to throw. I don't really know what the Giants could have done differently personnel-wise on Sunday, but the guys they were playing didn't get the job done.
I won't give 'Wet Willies' to Nicks or Bradshaw, guys who obviously aren't anywhere near healthy, but who tried. Really, the same is true of Snee. Those are three critical offensive players who simply were not able to give the Giants what they usually can. In the cases of Bradshaw and Nicks that has been the case much of the season.
Defensively, I kept seeing comments on Twitter and elsewhere wondering why the Giants didn't replace Webster. Well, Prince Amukamara obviously wasn't read for a full load -- playing only four snaps. Justin Tryon was the only other option.