Team lost 4 in a row? Gone from super bowl contender to mediocrity? Are you extraordinarily large in size? If you answered yes to any of these, you might be the New York Giants. What ails your team? That is why we are here.
I feel like a doctor staring at a kid with his bone protruding from his arm at horrendous angles and diagnosing a broken arm. Small children could tell you that the Giants defense has been lacking. Over their last four losses, the G-men have given up 493, 288, 391, and 226. Some of these totals are not so bad, but they have come at the most inopportune of times. Obviously, the 493 to the Saints was dreadful, but 80 of the Chargers 226 yards came on the winning drive. Some credit is due to the Chargers, but the Giants defense just does not get stops when they need them.
The first 5 games of the Giants year could not have been easier. They played, in order, Washington, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Oakland. The Browns, Lions, and Rams might take offense to this, but those are 4 unbelievably bad teams and a Dallas team that still was under-utilizing their running game and still kept it close. At week 5, everyone, me included, was talking Super Bowl hopes for the Giants. Then something amazing happened, they played a good team. Not only did they play them, they got absolutely smoked. Ever since then, they have lost their mojo, even falling to Arizona in the Meadowlands. The news gets worse. Of their remaining games, the only ones that stick out as tap-in wins are vs. Carolina and at Washington. We can safely put them at 7 wins, but really not much further. It is hard to believe that this team would go 2-9 for its last 11, but it is possible and would leave them at 7-9 for the year. Ouch.
3) Eli Manning
Remember 2006 when the Vikings picked Eli 4 times and there was talk about benching him for good? We have not seen that Eli for a while, but he has been as indecisive the last few weeks as I have seen since the Super Bowl year. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket and is not making good decisions. I have to wonder if the Planar Fasciitis is still getting to him but he has just not been good lately. A little more running game would help, but you can’t afford to run when you are down, so the problem still depends on the defense.
What Tim Taylor was to Home Improvement, I am to fixing football teams. Look at the Titans article and try and tell me differently. Here goes.
1) Cover 2
I know you cannot just take any group of defenders and make them play any scheme, but mix in more base cover 2 looks. It will take some of the pressure off the corners and with guys like Umeryiora and Tuck; you can get pressure on the QB with only 4. This will not solve all problems, but running it more can help cut down on the big plays given up, especially through the air. The example that I always think of is the Colts defense. They were bad on the ground for most of the last decade, but have had the passing game on lock. The Colts front 4 are not built for stopping the run with undersized guys, but the Giants lineman are not undersized and could do ok stopping the run on their own. A more conservative approach might not hurt on defense.
2) RUN THE BALL
Hey Eli and Co., remember last year when your power running game made you a Super Bowl pick? I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting, because it has been a while since it happened last. I refuse to believe Derrick Ward’s departure really influenced the ground game, so why not keeping the run alive? You are built for it, and by not running, you resemble the Cowboys, which is something that no Big Blue fan wants. When Burress went to jail, we all thought the Giants would struggle to throw, but would continue to run it well. Instead they have become a bit too pass happy. Keep it simple. On top of all this, it will keep the defense off the field, thus improving their play since they will be less tired. Maybe even a 60-40 split. Maybe that is too much, but you get the point.
3) Get your swag on
Ok, I know that looks stupid, but teams need a little bit of swagger. Humble players are great, but on the field, you had better believe they do not doubt if they can produce. When a humble guy has swagger, you can call him Andre Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, etc. When a humble guy has no confidence on the field, we call him a scrub. This starts with Eli, Antonio Pierce, and Osi and so on and needs to spread to everyone else.
If that doesn’t fix it, blame it on the schedule. If that doesn’t work, blame it on the economy.