For the first time since 1987, the New York Giants are 0-5. Their most recent loss was to their archrival, the Philadelphia Eagles, in which they were outplayed in the second half by Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles. In my last article I said that if the Giants were to lose this game, they were to be tarnished by the Giants faithful and the ferocious New York media. However, I also mentioned that this was a game that the Giants could use to salvage, not only their season, but also the dignity of their franchise. Instead, the Giants lost to their biggest rival and forfeited any chance they had at competing in a weak NFC East. In other words, the Giants’ season is officially over. For the long term, the team needs to start thinking about draft picks. However, for the short term, immediate changes must be made to this organization. There are numerous individuals who must be held responsible for one of the worst seasons in Giants history.
The first individual that needs to take responsibility for this season is GM Jerry Reese. After the Giants failed to make the playoffs last season, Reese announced “everybody’s on notice”. It turns out Reese should have been more concerned about adding more depth to the offensive line than putting players on notice. As I’ve said countless times, the issue that has haunted the Giants all season and cannot be solved is their weak offensive line. During the offseason Reese did nothing to add talented linemen that could effectively back up the veterans. Instead, he was focused on re-signing Victor Cruz and hoped that the big signing would give Eli Manning enough weapons for a successful campaign. He clearly never thought of giving any attention to an offensive line that was depleted either through injuries or players deciding to move on to other teams. After falling to defeat a team that was known to have one of the worst defenses in the league, Reese needs to pack his bags and get out of New York.
The next victim of this horrific season must be Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride has always been an average offensive coordinator. Since 2007, he has insisted on being a conservative play caller and been obsessed with running the ball. Like I said in a previous article, he is too predictable. The game against the Eagles was no different than any other for Gilbride. Whenever the Giants were in a third and long situation, Gilbride would either elect for a short pass or a run up the middle for a short gain. Both plays are designed for a better punting position and are meant to pin the opposition deep in their own territory. Those types of plays won’t work against talented offenses like the Eagles. They’re a type of team that has the ability to score from any position on the field. Based on the Giants’ horrific start to the season, which includes being 11-for-48 on third down conversions, Gilbride must go.
Finally, it’s time to start making some decisions about Eli Manning. After Manning finished the game with three interceptions and another horrific second half performance, Tom Coughlin, one of his biggest supporters, admitted that the interceptions were “demoralizing” and “terrible”. While Coughlin was spot on with criticism, his comments suggest that distrust is growing between Manning and his head coach. Regardless of what Coughlin says, it’s time to stop blaming the offensive line for the failures on offense. The reality is that Manning needs a ton of time to throw the football, and when he doesn’t have that extra time to pick out his receivers he’s a flawed quarterback. Through the first five games of the season, Manning leads the league with eight interceptions. Yet, his most recent poor performance was the worst yet because two of his three interceptions lead to two touchdowns that gave the Eagles the game. Furthermore, it wasn’t that he only threw three interceptions that lead to scores but rather that he threw them at a time when the Giants still had a chance to win the game. The Giants organization needs to stop making excuses and start holding Manning responsible for this nightmare of a season.