It is only now that the game against the Eagles really upsets me. That sure was a tough loss at home. But knowing that there was still a win, and in scenario at Green Bay made the collapse not matter as much.
But here we are on the night of January 2, 2011 and the Giants have missed the playoffs. They had that game against the Eagles and it was at home no less. The incentive to go all out in Green Bay was there. All they had to do was win, and the game against the Redskins would mean nothing.
But it all came down to week 17. The Giants needed to win AND needed some help.
The first order of business is to thank the Bears. The Chicago Bears had the number two seed and a first round bye no matter what happened today in Green Bay. But how could the Bears let a division rival just walk into the playoffs? How can you let that happen? Lovie Smith and his crew decided to start the regulars and play them the entire game. And although I had the Giants game on my TV, I had the Bears on my computer. The Bears went all out. They played as though they were as desperate as the Giants. The defense was incredible. Unfortunately (for Giants fans) the Packers prevailed, and the Giants are here with you and me, on their couches.
So where should the Giants go from here? Well, before we start kicking Coughlin out of town, lets look at a few other components to the Giants season.
The biggest one? Turnovers. When you look at turnovers, attention turns to quarterback Eli Manning who led the league in the category this season. He threw 25. But remember early on in the season the story of those interceptions? Tipped passes by the receivers. People seem to forget about that. Now everyone all of a sudden is just looking at the numbers. But the amount of interceptions that should have been caught by receivers is probably pretty high even though I don’t have an exact number. And the interception today against the Redskins, again, should have been caught by Manningham. It went right off his hands.
Fumbles are the most mind boggling thing to me and here’s why. Remember another Giants running back who had a fumble problem named Tiki Barber? And do you remember a coach who came in, and told Barber to hold the ball a different way which in turn fixed his fumble problem? Do you remember that coaches name? His name is Tom Coughlin. I don’t understand why Coughlin did not have ALL his players this year, hold the ball the “Barber way.” He fixed fumble problems in the past, why can’t he do it again? But don’t take this as a knock on Coughlin. In general, I don’t feel like turnovers are a coach’s fault. What is he supposed to do? Players need to hold on to the football. The head coach of the team for the most part is not relevant to that situation. There is not much he can do.
Another problem for the Giants was their injuries. The offensive line was being shuffled around all year. Steve Smith got hurt. Hakeem Nicks was hurt. If you want to blame a coach, blame a strength and conditioning coach. Again, not the head coach’s fault. Corey Webster was also out for the contest against the Redskins.
But the ultimate question is this. Should Tom Coughlin be fired? My answer is no. Yes, I am aware the Giants have missed the playoffs two years in a row. Yes I am aware the Giants seem to struggle later in the season. I don’t know why that happens. But if anything, it’s fatigue. Does it look like the Giants don’t WANT to play under Coughlin? It doesn’t look that way to me. And if fatigue is the issue, I again look at the conditioning coaches.
How many games have you watched this year and afterwards felt, “wow, that was a poorly coached football game.” I certainly didn’t feel that way very often. Did you ever feel like the Giants were “outcoached?” I didn’t see it.
Tom Coughlin is the same coach who coached a Super Bowl winning Giants team past an undefeated Patriots team in one of the best Super Bowls ever. Nothing has changed.
I am not a believer in firing coaches just for the sake of firing coaches. The Giants defense was one of the best in the league this year leading the charge in many key categories. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell deserves a lot of the credit for sure, but Coughlin needs to be included in the accolades in my opinion.
Tom Coughlin is very knowledgeable about the game, about his opponents, and I think does a great job in preparing the team for upcoming games and getting them in the right mindset.
It is also important to keep in mind that if we look at January 2 only and ignore everything else, the reason the NY Giants are not in the playoffs right now is because the Packers won. The Giants for essentially the third week in a row played in a must-win game and did they get the win? They sure did. Unfortunately the win was not enough. Had the Giants lost today, that is another story. But out of all the “must-win” games, today was the MOST “must-win” if that makes sense. When they lost against the Eagles their hopes were still alive. When they lost against the Packers their hopes were still alive. Today if they lost, there was no hope. But in today’s must-win game, they won. The Giants couldn’t control what happened over in Green Bay. And yes the game was maybe closer than it should have been but a win is a win. And the Giants went without Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert got hurt early, and they were also without Corey Webster, Hakeem Nicks, and Steve Smith. Despite all that, they still won.
One coach I never liked was offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. I think he is awful at running the offense. And how many times a season does Eli Manning need to call timeout because the play clock is winding down. It definitely happens to the Giants more than any other team. Many times that falls on the offensive coordinator not getting plays in on time. But on top of that, Gilbride’s play-calling is usually questionable and predictable. Admittedly, this year I think it was better than it was in the past. But if Gilbride was gone I would have no issue with that.
Perry Fewell should stay. His style is similar to that of Steve Spagnuolo and I like him a lot. And as I stated above, the Giants defense was superb this year.
I believe Coughlin should stay as well. I think he knows what he is doing and I don’t blame the season on him at all. Injuries and turnovers proved costly and I don’t know how much those things really fall on the head coach. Penalties were not a big problem with the Giants this year like they have been in the past. Coaching has a lot to do with that so you can credit Coughlin there.
If you want to look at getting rid of coaches, look at conditioning and look at offensive play-calling. There is no reason to fire Tom Coughlin just for the sake of firing someone. Yes, it is very frustrating to collapse in games, collapse in seasons, and miss the playoffs. Nobody likes when that happens. But you need to realistically look at the reasons why that happens and not just start calling out the head coach.
Coughlin is also one of the best, if not the best with challenges. He knows when to challenge and when not to challenge. He is very astute and in tune with the NFL rulebook. He is a very intelligent coach. I have always liked the guy.
I just would need a very legitimate list of reason as to why Coughlin should be fired. Just saying “he missed the playoffs two years in a row” is not enough. The players are playing the games. Not Coughlin.
The Giants need to stay healthy and bring in solid personnel through free agency, trades, and the draft. If Bill Cowher or anyone else were coaching this year’s Giants I just don’t see how the results would be any different.
Which games were the Giants out-coached? Which decisions by Coughlin this season sent you into a big angry rage that made you tear your hair out? It just didn’t happen. Lay off of Coughlin.
And lay off of Eli too. As I said, a lot of the interceptions weren’t his fault. And doesn’t 31 touchdown passes and a Super Bowl ring mean anything?
The current Giants roster when healthy along with the current Giants coaching staff (including Gilbride) can absolutely win a Super Bowl in my opinion. I will defend that to the death. Unfortunately there were outside issues that prevented it from happening, injuries being a big key in that.
The one major difference between this team and the Super Bowl team from a few years ago is Michael Strahan. Other than that, the personnel is pretty much the same. And even if the players aren’t there, the skill level has not decreased of those who are there now.
If Coughlin gets fired, I won’t be surprised. But if you think Coughlin’s termination is the answer to the Giants problems, you are 100% wrong.