Top 10 New York Giants to Blame After Week 3
The Top 10 New York Giants to Blame after Week 3
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
The New York Giants were supposed to be a playoff team easily. They were favorites to win the division. They were even Super Bowl contenders. Now they are 0-3. In fact, and only the Jacksonville Jaguars have a worse point differential. The New York Giants are not completely out of it though, with the Dallas Cowboys leading the division two games ahead of them they have a chance. Dallas is known to have a collapse or two, and if the Giants can get their act together they may have a shot at the playoffs. However, that still remains a pipe dream.
Perhaps the most frustrating part is that the team still has all kinds of talent. There is not a major injury or even a perception that a rebuilding year is necessary. Instead, good players are playing poorly. The disappointing players are all over the field too. The Giants are having disappointing years from their defensive line, quarterback, running backs, and secondary. The Giants, like any team, had weak areas, but it has been the areas with the top players who were thought to be good which have been most seriously flawed. Many top Giants simply are not playing up to expectations.
Every single Giant is to blame, but some more than others. The ones who need to take on that blame are the leaders and top players. Truth is, Mark Herzlich has had a bad year, but as an undrafted rookie in only his third year that is to be expected. Players who were supposed to be top talents (and are being paid like it) are the ones who should be expected to improve, and improve fast.
Here are the top ten disappointments so far.
10. Jerry Reese
Some of the Giants' problems were easily foreseen, and Jerry Reese should take responsibility for these. For example the Giants have linebackers that are simply undervalued. They have drafted a linebacker (Clint Sintim) in the top three rounds just once in the last decade that didn’t prove useful at all. Jerry Reese was also slow to revamp the offensive line. Right now it simply looks like he is too old, and while he did well with his first round pick in Justin Pugh it seems players like Chris Snee will not be useful going forward and there is no clear way to replace them any time soon.
Reese is actually a very good GM; over the last eight years he has both kept the team at .500 or better and won two Super Bowls. That is excellence. However, he has made some missteps that proved costly this year.
9. Aaron Ross
Aaron Ross had low expectations, but on Sunday he still was unable to meet them. Nearly every big Carolina Panthers play came when he was targeted. Ross was not consistently defending a top wide receiver either; he was beat by Brandon LaFell. That simply cannot happen. Ross has generally had a poor year and has proved unwise those who have claimed that he should start.
8. Jason Pierre-Paul
Jason Pierre-Paul was supposed to be the Giants' defensive star. As a rookie he was just that, recording 16.5 sacks and at times carrying the Giants to wins. He brought havoc to opposing backfields and was constantly found on the other side of the field from where he started, making plays which no one could possibly have expected him to. That JPP has yet to return. He has been injured and not playing as many snaps as a usual starter. Even when he has been on the field his explosiveness is not quite there. Regardless of why he is playing poorly the Giants desperately need him to improve. Last week he was healthy enough to be a starter, and hopefully soon he will be healthy enough to resemble the old JPP.
7. Perry Fewell
Many times it is hard to know how responsible a coach may be when a defensive unit can’t get a stop versus how much blame the players deserve. Here there is no difference, but the Giants have been so bad on defense he must bear some responsibility. The main issue for the Giants is their lack of pressure. The Giants have often despised blitzing as it opens up deep throws. They haven’t had to most of the time, but now they might. Perry Fewell does not necessarily need to blitz, but he does need to find some way to get the Giants pressure and turnovers. Doing the same cover two with four rushers will not work.
6. Kevin Gilbride
Kevin Gilbride should savor his last few games with the New York Giants. Gilbride has been the coordinator since 2007 and has actually enjoyed a lot of success. He came in with a more aggressive play-calling style back then and led an offense to the Super Bowl. Since then, though, his offense has grown bland. It has changed very little since he came in, and that is not tolerable. In the NFL running the same offense every year is a fireable offense, and that is precisely what Gilbride has done.
5. David Wilson
Many were excited about David Wilson rejuvenating the Giants’ run game this year. They were wrong. Wilson fumbled twice to start the year and quickly went into Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. He eventually got out and has had some more carries since. His form has improved, and he will be better going forward. All that being said, the explosiveness many were excited about has not arrived; Wilson is averaging just three yards a carry. He’s a young player with some time to get better, but as of now he has cost the Giants dearly and has not done much to make up for it.
4. Justin Tuck
Justin Tuck has long been considered the central leader for the Giants. He was elected captain again this year even after a very poor 2012 season. The expectation was that he would be his old self and have a bounce back year. That hasn’t happened.
Tuck has had his moments this year, but he is a far cry from the 2007-2009 player many Giants fans remember. In some ways it is sad to see a player fall off so sharply. Truth be told, Tuck should have won the Super Bowl MVP in 2007 when he had two sacks and a forced fumble. He really was a force for the Giants, but now he is a source of weakness. While he may be a captain, he may actually be a below average player for the Giants.
3. Will Beatty
Before the season started I described Will Beatty as the biggest X-factor for the Giants. Thus it should be no surprise that his subpar play has caused major problems for the offense. Eli Manning has had little time to throw and in Gilbride’s offense that is disastrous. The Giants love to go deep, but without protection that simply is not possible. Beatty’s struggles were put on display very clearly on Sunday when the Panthers constantly broke through the left side of the line to get to Manning. His run blocking has not been discernibly better than the rest of the Giants line, or in other words it has been terrible. Beatty is supposed to be the future of the offensive line, but that has become a very scary prospect for Big Blue.
2. Eli Manning
Eli Manning gets the credit when the Giants win, and he should therefore get blame when they lose. Manning has often had interception problems, non-elite accuracy, and average pocket presence yet has been hailed as a top quarterback. Manning has clearly been a top 5 quarterback many years, but due to his two Super Bowl rings he has avoided critics even when he has not played extremely well. Manning had a bad season relative to his standards last year, throwing fewer than 4,000 yards and completing fewer than 60 percent of his passes. This year has gotten even worse as he has thrown eight interceptions already. He has had some unlucky throws and some miscommunications, but he has certainly thrown three or four horrible passes that cost his team dearly. If Manning wants to be considered elite he simply needs to play better.
1. Chris Snee
Chris Snee was elected a captain this year, but he hasn’t played like it. Snee, getting consistently beat, was dominated on Sunday against the Panthers. He has done a poor job run blocking like the rest of the team and does not at all resemble the Pro Bowl player that he once was last year.
His captainship also implies he is the leader of the offensive line, which has been utterly horrible. They rank last in run blocking according to Football Outsiders. The offensive line has let Manning be sacked 11 times already this year as well. From watching it is clear that most of the blame is on the offensive line and not Manning, who has so little time that he often finds himself crowded even before his drop is finished. Chris Snee is the leader of an offensive line that is embarrassingly bad. If he can’t help them get their act together the only thing the Giants will be able to look forward to is a top 5 overall pick.