The New York Giants came into their Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys looking to have the kind of statement game that would put to rest their 9-7 record in the 2012 season. The Cowboys came into the game equally motivated to walk away from their 8-8 finish last year. Both teams missed the playoffs. Both teams had a mountain of shame to bury.
What we got was a Cowboys team that showed up ready to play. From the very first snap, the defense attacked the Giants, forcing opportunities and capitalizing on them. What the Giants offered up in the first half was one of the most putrid performances I’ve seen in a long time. The Giants gave up three turnovers in the first six minutes. They gave up an astonishing five in roughly 10 total minutes of possession through the third quarter.
Yes — that’s a turnover every two minutes.
I would say that head coach Tom Coughlin should start cutting people and holding walk-on tryouts if it wasn’t for the fact that I think a big chunk of the blame falls on Coughlin’s shoulders. Coughlin talks about how the new CBA limits the amount of contact and practices that the players get and how it makes for sloppy play in the opening game. Looking around the league this week, he might have a point.
What coach Coughlin needs to consider is that maybe it’s his coaching techniques that also need to change. Somehow, I don’t think that Eli Manning’s receivers getting the snot knocked out of them in 10 more training camp practices is going to help them get on the same page. Maybe if the playbook was locked in two weeks earlier, they’d have the time to study and readjust during practices instead of using the practices as study sessions.
Somehow, I don’t think David Wilson getting punched in the gut 20 more times in the month of August will keep him from ever fumbling again. Instead, maybe he needs time working on his cover-up fundamentals with his position coach. The Giants’ coaching staff has had two years to work on his fundamentals with little improvement shown.
Coughlin benched Wilson for the night in order to teach him some sort of moral lesson. Instead, he chose to trust some of the third- and fourth-string running backs to hold down the backfield.
The Giants looked ugly until fourth quarter after coach Coughlin ran out of people to yell at, and the players got to go and play. They were poised to make a heroic fourth-quarter comeback when Manning panicked and dumped one off hurriedly to third-stringer Darrell Scott, who bobbled the ball straight to the hands of David Carr … who returned it for the final nail in the Giants’ big coffin of Coughlin’s excuses.
The Giant’s lost this game because they couldn’t overcome the undisciplined mistakes they made early. Coach Coughlin can conveniently blame the CBA while he screams at the players, but maybe he should look in the mirror and save some of the screaming for himself.