The New York Giants head to the nation's capital Thursday night for their first NFC East game of the 2014 season. As the Giants prep for the Washington Redskins, let's assess the situation for the 1-2 Giants. We do that, of course, with the latest version of 'Five things I think I think' about the Giants. As always, apologies to Peter King.
I think the Giants need to win Thursday. The Giants have improved every week this season. They went from getting blown out in Week 1, to doing a lot of good things but self-destructing in Week 2, to overcoming their mistakes and winning in Week 3. Now, they absolutely have to beat the Washington Redskins in Week 4. If they can do that, a difficult task playing on the road in a short week, they will be in business. If they lose, they will be 1-3, buried at the bottom of the NFC East, and all the good feelings from Sunday's victory over the Houston Texans, will be washed away.
I think seeing the Redskins Thursday night will be interesting. Washington, for me, is one of the NFC's most interesting team. Not best. Most interesting. With Kirk Cousins at quarterback, with a new head coach, with a controversy over whether or not it's appropriate to use their nickname, I'm just curious to see them play.
I think Stevie Brown is on the hot seat. Head coach Tom Coughlin admitted Monday that safety Stevie Brown was benched on Monday after allowing yet another big play, this time a 44-yard touchdown pass. Brown had eight interceptions in 2012, but also gave up a handful of big plays. So far this season, the interceptions are not coming but the tendency to surrender big plays is still there. IF Brown starts on Thursday night, I think the leash will be short.
I think the Odell Beckham Jr. situation has gotten ridiculous. He will run again. Some day. He will play football again. Some day. The Giants will get something from him. Some day. I have thought ever since Beckham was sidelined before the New York Jets preseason game (when, you will remember, he famously did not suffer a setback) that Beckham would not help the Giants until at least the mid-point of the 2014 season. I am starting to wonder if he won't help them at all until 2015. That's bad news for this season. On the bright side, it would be like getting two first-round picks next season.
I think Coughlin, like fine wine, gets better with age. This might be Coughlin's final season as an NFL head coach. His career might last two more years. It might last five more. Who knows? What I do know is that I think Coughlin, when it comes to knowing how to handle people and read the temperature of his team, has never been better than he is now. With his team 0-2 and pressing, Coughlin did something last week that he almost never does -- he took his foot off the gas. Coughlin not only allowed music he most certainly did not pick during Friday's practice, he allowed some light-hearted activity that helped his team loosen up.
"It was meant to send a signal to them that I still believe in them and I wanted them to focus on what had to be corrected and accomplished. Rather than on something else. Keeping it positive was very important," Coughlin said. "Keeping it in terms of we wanted outstanding work, we wanted guys to relax and show us the kind of football players that they really were, to demonstrate their ability to play together as one, to perform with the athleticism that we knew they had and haven't seen a lot of. Yes, it was important."