Picking Up Reese's Pieces
NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: With A Quarter Of The Season Wasted, Big Blue's Underlying Condition Must Be Realized And Dealt With.
The Giants are off to their worst start in twenty-seven years. The first four weeks of the season have been a recurring nightmare, and any playoff aspirations the team may have held entering the 2013 season are now all but ruined. Tom Coughlin might be happy to see his worse ever month as Head Coach of the GMen finally end. But make no mistake, there will be no joy in the land of Giants. They've dug such a hole for themselves, that at this point, there is likely no way out. At the moment, the only thing they have working for them is time, as twelve games remain in the regular season. Outside of that, the Giants have invited rampant and wide ranging speculation upon themselves.
This may be a hard subject to broach, or seem like a knee-jerk reaction after only Week Four, but the truth of the matter is the Chiefs may very well have served GM Jerry Reese with rebuilding papers this afternoon. Just look where the Kansas City Chiefs have been the last two seasons, and look at them now. Ditto goes for Seattle. The same thing happening to the Giants is also happening to Pittsburgh.
No GM can ever flip a roster in one week much less one season, but with Giants respectability hanging by a thread, desperate times call for desperate measures. Jerry Reese has upwards of forty-five question marks on both offense and defense which demand considerable attention. Therefore, the coming second quarter of the season, and the rest of the year for that matter, begs for a different kind of team evaluation.
It is sad to be speaking about 2014 so soon, but the Giants condition must be realized and dealt with. Offensively, I do not believe the return of a healthy David Diehl will make a difference. He hardly made a difference last season. Instead, the entire offensive line needs rebuilding - all five positions. Eli Manning began as a rookie playing behind an established elite veteran offensive line, and was supplemented by an equally powerful backfield, and additionally always had a capable tight end at his disposal. David Diehl, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw collectively had their last hurrah together in SBXLII. Injuries, age and declining ability have since took their toll on the offense. Naturally with the passage of time, the collective skills of the offensive line and backfield were diminishing just as Eli was entering his prime, but the overlap of careers was still good enough to win two titles. However, inadequate replacements have hastened the Giants demise. In spite of his performance against Carolina, Will Beatty is a good pass blocker, but the Giants won't be doing much running behind him. Beatty also does not come cheaply, and that's a hindrance to forward progress, just as David Baas' price tag and lack of performance have likewise been a hindrance towards success.
Defensively, despite Corey Webster's and Aaron Ross' past ability to rise up to occasion, ruinous injuries have hampered Jerry Reese's ability to upgrade the secondary for years. Since Antonio Pierce, and despite a failed sizable investment in Michael Boley, the position of linebacker has been largely ignored. While it's true, the Giants were able to rise up and win two Super Bowls on the strength on their pass rush, they currently rank last in the league in sacks. Justin Tuck recorded just two tackles last week versus Carolina. This week against the Chiefs, he made just one tackle. He has exactly one-half sack after four games. While the defensive line is where Jerry Reese has focused most of his attention in recent years, the results are lacking. Tackle Cullen Jenkins was brought in for big money, and now reports have it Jerry Reese is looking to extend Linval Joseph.
That said, the Giants have faced massive salary cap issues for several years now as well. Will Beatty and David Baas were already mentioned. Victor Cruz' money barely fit under the cap, while Hakeem Nicks will be looking to cash in next season. None of this bodes well for the Giants, this year or next. This era may have finally reached its Law of Diminished returns.