New York, Facing “Giant” Decisions

 

Following last Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants face bleak post-season chances. After an interesting season, to say the least, there have been bright spots on both sides of the ball.

With Andre Brown back, the run game has been a highlight of the Giants’ offense. Likewise, on defense, the team has been successful in stopping opposing running backs in most situations, and has begun to play more cohesively as a unit.

But, in what is currently a 4-7 season for the Giants, there is bound to be a few major problems. The team has faced its fair share of struggles on both offense and defense, as well as in the special teams unit.

When teams struggle through a season like this, the coaches and other personnel are some of the first to take the blame. This year’s Giants’ team is no exception.

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has come under fire especially, with many questioning his future with the New York Giants.

The defense has not played great-that much is clear. However, there has been apparent improvement, especially since mid-October, when middle linebacker Jon Beason entered the scene.

In the first five games this season, the Giants defense allowed opposing teams to score at least 30 points per game. After acquiring Beason in a mid-season trade with the Carolina Panthers, no team has been able to break through that 30-point barrier.

The defense has also begun to revive their pass rush. In last week’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants successful sacked opposing quarterback Tony Romo four times, a major improvement from earlier in the season.

Week 2-Week 7, the Giants’ defense was unable to rack up more than a single sack a game, failing to record even one in their games against Denver and Chicago.

With blunt honesty, I think all three coordinators (including offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn) should really be on the chopping block.

I also think the Giants’ organization will not fire more than one coordinator simultaneously. It is expected in this kind of a season for a team to be struggling in all aspects of the game, but a change of that magnitude might be too great for a team this fragile. The change does need to be big enough to make an actual impact, meaning it will really come down to losing either the offensive or defensive coordinator.

Looking at the teams’ performance on both sides of the ball, neither the offense nor the defense has played pretty football this season. However, the overall trend on defense has been that of improvement, while the offense has been on a very evident decline.

The Giants’ need to keep the lesser of the two evils between Gilbride and Fewell.

With that being said, I think Fewell has done enough in 2013 to show he deserves to stay. Gilbride, on the other hand, has faced scrutiny in the last few seasons. Although talk has swirled about Gilbride’s job security in the past, he has kept his position, probably due to the fact that he has worked closely with Eli Manning since his days as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

But, at this point, it is time for Gilbride’s tenure as the offensive coordinator to come to an end.

Many of the problems facing the New York Giants’ offense this season have been similar to problems faced in past seasons, and yet, there does not seem to be any changes made.

One of the major struggles for this New York Giants’ offense in the 2013 season has centered on their shortcomings in the red zone. In fact, the Giants rank 27th overall in touchdowns made from within the red zone, ending only 46.43% (hyperlink) of drives in the red zone with 6 points.

In 2012, they ranked 13th overall in this area, a bit of a regression from their 2011 championship season, when they were ranked 9th overall in red zone touchdowns. Overall, their accuracy in the red zone has gotten worse, and poor play calling has often been to blame.

Another disturbing observation is the offense’s poor time management. On almost every snap, Manning allows the play clock to dwindle dangerously close to zero, thwarting the offense from maintaining any kind of rhythm. Gilbride is perpetually making adjustments up until the last second, getting the play calls in to Manning and the rest of the offense late.

Of note are also the repeated instances of mis communication between Manning and his receivers. Clearly, in an efficiently run offense, there is no room for repeated mistakes.

Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist

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