THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS:
Let the autopsy begin.
The Head Coach and the Offensive Coaches
I. HEAD COACH ~ TOM COUGHLIN
First we must dispel the misguided notion Tom Coughlin can not continue as coach of the Giants. Let's put his record up against that of The Tuna; Bill Parcells, because that is the only true way to diffuse Giant fan's fervent want for having Coughlin's head.
The TUNA YEARS:
1982 Season ~ Last season under Ray Perkins.
1983 Season ~ Giants suffer 3-12-1 season in Bill Parcells' 1st year.
1984 Season ~ Giants improve to 9-7 and make Playoffs. Beat Eagles; Lose to 49ers in 2nd Round.
1985 Season ~ Giants make Playoffs with 10-6 record ~ Lose to Bears 21-0 in the Infamous Sean Landeta "Wind Blown Punt" Game.
1986 Season ~ Win NFC EAST TITLE; Super Bowl Champions.
1987 Season ~ Miserable Strike Season; Finish in last place. Do Not Make Playoffs.
1988 Season ~ Giants finish 10-6 losing to JETS on last day of season, losing Division Title in process. Do Not Make Playoffs.
1989 Season ~ Win NFC EAST TITLE; After dominant 12-4 season, Giants Lose to Rams in First Round Playoff ~ Infamous "Flipper Anderson" Game 19-13 in O.T.
1990 Season ~ Win NFC EAST TITLE; Super Bowl Champions.
1991 Season ~ Bill Parcells steps down; Ray Handley is named Head Coach.
The COUGHLIN ERA:
2003 Season ~ Last season under Jim Fassell.
2004 Season ~ Tom Coughlin's First Year; Giants 6-10
2005 Season ~ Win NFC EAST TITLE (11-5); Lose First Round Playoff game to Panthers 23-0.
2006 Season ~ After 8-8 qualifies for post-season, Giants lose First Round Playoff game to Eagles 24-21.
2007 Season ~ Super Bowl Champions.
2008 Season ~ Giants Win NFC EAST TITLE; have dominant 13-3 season shot in leg by Plaxico Burress. Lose to Eagles in First Round Playoff game 23-11.
2009 Season ~ Giants start 5-0; Finish season 8-8. Do Not Make Playoffs
2010 Season ~ Giants finish 10-6; Lose out on Post Season on last day. Do Not Make Playoffs
2011 Season ~ To Be Determined. - Owner John Mara emphatic Tom Coughlin will return.
The records speak for themselves. You can almost pair off a season for season and Coach Coughlin still has a year to work with to try and achieve a second Lombardi. So who exactly are you judging Tom Coughlin against? Unless you're comparing him to Vince Lombardi, Chuck Knoll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson, or Bill Belichick? ... Bear Bryant? John Madden? Don Shula?
Tony Dungy, John Gruden, Brian Billick, Jack Fisher, Bill Cower? The Gipper?
Who is the Coach out there that has taken two different teams in both conferences to Championship Games and won a Super Bowl? Parcells did it. Gruden did it. Who else? Who cares! My point is name me the coach who you think is available, and better than Tom Coughlin.
Who's available? John Gruden; Jack Fisher; John Fox; Brian Billick; Bill Cower ~ They may be the best of the currently unemployed Coaching candidates. You want Tom Coughlin fired to replace him with one of these names?
The whining and snivelling that came out of Tiki Barber's mouth regarding his Head Coach; Tom Coughlin, seems to have never gone away. So many have continued the criticisms in Tiki's place about Coughlin ever since his retirement which he incidentally "un-officially and never quite verbally" blamed on Coughlin and the way he ran his team. Additionally, just like Jeremy Shockey complained so did the GREAT Michael Strahan up until Jerry Reese told him to beat-it during his hold-out. It was only then Michael Strahan came back to camp and he came back "correct".
Where are the players of 2010 complaining about Tom Coughlin and about how their Head Coach got out-coached now? Where are the players who find playing for Tom Coughlin unbearable today?
Jim Fassell once stood there on the sideline and could do nothing to stop the in-fighting that caused the Giants to lose a playoff game in ridiculous fashion against the Vikings in '97. Fassell had no answers for the Ravens during the Super Bowl during a game in which he thoroughly got out-coached. When all Jim Fassell could do was stand there with that incredulous look on his face during the Trey Junkin Game in the 49ers playoff game, ...at least Coughlin had a reaction for his Kicker in Jan. of 2008 and a reaction for his punter in Dec. 2010.
What more can a Head Coach do when your players don't perform the way they've been coached to play?
Bill Parcells used to throw garbage at his players and threaten their jobs and scream at his coordinators. Coughlin yells at kickers and his coordinators and benches fumblers. Coughlin has to do it in a P.C. World. The Tuna didn't. The League, the Union and power structure were different then as well as the monies involved. Coughlin is an Old School Guy still coaching very good Football in the Modern Game.
Bill Parcells had Sean Landeta's Wind Blown Punt and Flipper Anderson.
Jim Fassel had Trey Junkin, Rich Seubert and 1997.
Tom Coughlin has his own moments. No Coach is without them. And Bill Parcells didn't get the Giants to the playoffs 4 consecutive years; only three.
And then ask yourself this, ~ Do you really think John Mara is going to allow his General Manager Jerry Reese to fire Coughlin for some hot-shot, up-and-coming Coordinator? Really?
Well, John Mara already put this all to rest. After the game he told the press he already informed Tom Coughlin last week he'd be returning as the Head Coach of the New York Football Giants next year.
Keeping Tom Coughlin is the right thing to do. Reeling in the TUNA was the only HOOK to get some of "US" Giants fans to understand this.
II. OFFENSIVE COACHING STAFF
1 ~ OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR ~ KEVIN GILBRIDE
You knew this was coming from me. But there's a reason Buddy Ryan punched him in the face!
He continually and needlessly put his Defense back on the field in bad spots because of a complete failure on third down conversions this season. Thirds Downs...and Three-and-Outs! Why?
Because with Coach Gilbride it's either FEAST OR FAMINE.
How many times this season have we found ourselves late in third and fourth quarter situations, desperately needing first downs to control the clock and keep the other team's Offense off the field only to fail miserably with another Three and Out and too much time left on the clock?
Answer; Excruciatingly Too Many!! And it has everything to do with his aversion with being a run first Coach.
I've been on Coach Gilbride all season long. I'm sure I could have plucked better examples but my post in WEEK 6 shows I've been on him since the beginning of the season. Even through WEEK 10 ~ HERE'S Proof in something Titled: Fourth Down and GILBRIDE To Go ~ I have been screaming for Coach Gilbride to get the running game in tune for December Football forever. I believed then as I believe now, when you absolutely, positively, have to, no doubt about it, need a first down on 3rd and short situations, you have to turn to your Running Game and expect them to get it done; NOT throw a 15 yard out over the head of Kevin Boss. What Coach Gilbride does not comprehend is that reliance on Power Football comes through living it week in and week out. A third and short in desperate times is not something you can just pick from out of your notes and call in a play, especially when all you're doing is salivating over your next call for a pass anyway. That critical first down is derived at by pure power and dedication to the run game as a way of life. The fourth quarter, Third-and-Short conversion is a cumulative effect that starts with the first offensive possession of the game. It's a game-style designed to finish games late. A well prepared and confident Running Game will look a Defensive Front in the eye and tell them they are running the ball off-tackle and still make three yards. Period! That's Football since the NFL's inception...whether you wore no helmet, a leather helmet, or a Modern helmet!
Among the many, many things that went wrong against the Eagles in the melt-down, almost all of it could have been avoided with ONE FIRST DOWN. But when we needed to get one, we could do nothing outside of being sickly in our attempts. With multiple opportunities to end the game with one first down, they could manage none. The same circumstances resurfaced most recently against the Redskins. Coming off three Redskin fumbles, the best we could offer on Offense was a wimpy three-and-out on three consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. The Giant ability to will themselves to first downs, this game, against the Eagles, and other times, was lost because it was ignored by Kevin Gilbride in weeks 3,4 and 5 and 6, but grossly mismanaged all season long from start to finish, because Kevin Gilbride unnecessarily tilts 15 to 20 plays Eli's way per game that should have been invested earlier in the season on the running game.
It all goes back to Kevin Gilbride setting up the Run with the Pass, opposed to the more conventional setting up the Pass with the Run Game.
In the games in which Jacobs and Bradshaw ran wild accumulating almost 600 yards in three games...,
Their Touches Never Increased...But Eli's Pass Attempts Did!!! The more those two ran off huge chunks of yardage, the more Gilbride wanted to pass to the point our Backs became ignored, (and Jacobs..forgotten). Gilbride pats them on the back and puts Jacobs on the shelf.
How can you limit Brandon Jacobs to an average of 8 carries a game for the season? How do you limit this potent running game to 22 to 25 carries a game combined, and justify Eli needlessly throwing upwards of 35 and 40 passes with games well in hand?
This man must be held responsible for his 1/3 of the blame regarding Eli Manning's career high for interceptions in a season, and for one of the worse INT totals in Giants' history. All Gilbride's pass calling and Eli's in-completions do nothing but open the door for comebacks and plenty of time with which to get it done. This goes right in hand with the third quarter disappearances by this Offense which have been nothing short of mystifying.
To be fair, Kevin Gilbride may have had something radically more lethal in store for the NFL had our entire Recieving Corp not succumbed to injury; we didn't turn the ball over at such a prodigious rate and our Offensive Line had been healthier. Yes, Kevin Gilbride can be an excellent (no..very good) Offensive Coach. The key word is can. And it bares repeating, with him, it's FEAST OR FAMINE. The Super Bowl Year we obviously feasted, but that was with PLAX and Steve Smith on the field with a completely healthy O-Line.
I'd be very careful with who the Giants replace him with. I'd rather stick with Gilbride and try to get him to change his thinking, than turn over this Offense to a hot-shot who doesn't even shave yet. He and Tom Coughlin are long time friends and the fact Tom Coughlin is also an Offensive kinda guy goes against everything I'm trying to hammer home. But at some point they have to have a Pow-Wow and decide once and for all to incorporate the Running Game into something much more integral to this team's success than just something Coach Gilbride feels obligated to mix into the plan while hindering his search for the Ultimate Pass Play.
So..., what I'm saying is that with more commitment to the running game and better clock management through such, Gilbride can stay. But it still doesn't mean he won't make me want to punch him in the face sometimes too.
But if John Gruden would lower himself to a coordinator's level again, I'd gladly invite him to run our Offense.
1A) - QB Coach Mike Sullivan
Eli Manning's passes were consistently high this season. These high passes were many times tipped and intercepted. Eli Manning also at times reverted to throwing off his back foot again. We've seen him do the "throw and turn your back" thing along with the baffling shovel attempts he's made when in the grasp of pressure. Then there was the non-slide-rolling-fumble play.
What has Mike Sullivan done to improve Eli's throwing technique in order to get his passes lower especially being this is not a new problem? Why has Eli seemingly reverted to old rookie habits with regard to his footwork? Why has he been increasingly inclined to attempt these shovel tosses which have the potential of being disastrous? And why is Eli not practiced in the art of sliding?
What is the man charged with ensuring these details are addressed for upwards of six days a week, with the obvious exception of game day, (and even then their job doesn't end). These are the items of concern that are obvious to many, which we have every reason to believe are worked on week in and week out.
So, a fair question to ask is how much of the responsibility and blame for Eli's regressing tendencies fall on his Quarterback Coach? Why hasn't he impressed his will and corrective measures with obvious and positive results upon his QB?
Look what another Giants QB guru and and Offensive Coordinator, i.e;. Jim Fassell and Sean Peyton did with Kerry Collins (Pffff). Then look what Sean Peyton did with Drew Brees. John Elway didn't need Dan Reeves or Mike Shanahan to be great. He needed a RUNNING BACK!
But I think the question is fair. What has Mike Sullivan done to straighten out Eli for us? Because me personally? Eli is my guy. I'll win and lose with him.
1B) - Running Backs Coach Jerald Ingram
Tom Coughlin personally corrected Tiki Barber's fumbling problems. We know Coach's preferred technique. Ahmad Bradshaw should be no stranger to Coach's techniques just as he's no stranger to fumbling the ball even before this season. Coach Coughlin switched off to Brandon Jacobs as the starting back after the first Eagles encounter because Ahmad continually put the ball on the ground. The Coach was forced to take a course of action and did.
Now, what happened to the reinforcement techniques, drills and mental preparedness that the Running Backs Coach is there to ensure gets met and employ such, for six days a week; 4 weeks a month; and at least 5 months a season? These matters fall under Jerald Ingram's attention to detail with proactive and reactive measures.
Yet, the fumbling continued all the way into last week's game against the Packers.
PART II ~ The Offensive Line and Special Teams Coaches
PART III ~ I'll be TACKLING the Defensive Coaches
PART IV ~ Jerry Reese and the Players