When GIANTS ruled the world...!
New York Football Giants: Gone are Scapegoat One and Scapegoat Two. Will the axe fall next on Who One or Who Two?
It should read like Dr. Seuss...! Because somewhere between the Cat in the Hat and the Isle of Dr. Moreau lies my opening statement with regards to the upcoming season.
I watched pre-season game #1; three words ~ What a Mess!
Otherwise I have nothing constructive to offer regarding the game.
In fact, the Football Giants should count their blessings,
the Baseball Mets are presently doing well and have me distracted.
But I Got Your Pre-Season Right Here!
General manager Jerry Reese's window for winning a third Vince Lombardi trophy with Eli Manning is closing fast. That would also suggest the window remains open.
In truth, all Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin can do is look at each other dismayed over what Jerry Reese has done to the House of Mara.
- Remember how proud Wellington was when his much maligned Giants won the 2000 NFC Championship Game on a field of green painted mud? There's always that chance, which is exactly why I exhort the Giants to always DO IT FOR THE DUKE!
THIRD and LONG: If at first, second, or third you do not succeed, try, try and try again, and again, and again...
I'm being kind when declaring the New York Giants are at a crossroad. According to Albert Einstein's definition, Big Blue is a team bordering on insanity for repeatedly facing the same fork in the road over the last 3 seasons, and veering toward the wayward path each time.
Subsequent to 2011, a series of unremarkable drafts and pedestrian free agent signings failed to effectively replace prominent retiring players. In fact, center Shaun O'Hara still serves as a prime example of the inability to back fill positions with any type of quality, much less any continuity.
Moreover, Jerry Reese's reliance on free agency consequently reached its zenith over the last two seasons. In my book, that's called straying from your core values. But in terms of modern football economics, the salary cap ramifications have proven prohibitive.
That said, injuries continue sabotaging Reese's best laid plans as well. He has spent several drafts exhausting numerous picks attempting to remedy the secondary, yet, at this very moment injuries continue ruling, if not ruining the day (see Bengals game).
Ironically, Tom Coughlin vehemently denounced injuries upon assuming head coaching duties back in 2004. But mounting casualties at key positions already stand poised to compromise a fourth straight season, while also threatening to end Coughlin's Big Blue career on a sour note.
Make no mistake, Tom Coughlin is indeed winding down his career as head coach of the Giants. He is 68-years old now, and his recent record will not allow a continuance unless something special happens at Giants Stadium this season.
To that I say, good luck.
As Bill Parcells used to say - You are what your record says you are. Translated, that means the Giants are in regression. They posted their second straight losing record last year, and failed to make the playoffs in each of Coughlin's last 3 seasons.
Moreover, the Giants have posted a 22-26 record since their last trip down Broadway's Canyon of Heroes after winning Super Bowl XLVI.
No one needs reminding, Tom Coughlin is an offensive minded coach. But it was his friend, and former O.C. Kevin Gilbride that got scapegoated for the Giants 7-9 record and overall disappointing 2013 season. Outwardly, we know the situation was made to appear as if Gilbride initiated his own retirement. Our (my) better sense, however, says he paid the price in lieu of firing Coughlin.
And so the Giants moved forward last year with new Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo.
There is considerably less debate with regards to scapegoat number two. Former defensive coordinator Perry Fewell earned his dismissal with honors. Injuries took a heavy toll on Fewell's unit as well, but his philosophy and (secondary) schemes were overly confusing and wholly ineffective. Most disheartening and unbearable to watch was their absolute failure to stop the run. That was an insult to the great history of this organization. Perry Fewell's dismissal came years later than I had hoped, but it finally came nonetheless.
Perry Fewell is now out, and Steve Spagnuolo is back in.
The next bell, therefore, will toll for Tom Coughlin. The Giants are not an organization that deals in lame duck coaching. They treated Coughlin with dignity, extending him through the 2016 season. They also provided him two new lieutenants with which to march forward. Whether Tom Coughlin realizes the final year of his contract, however, will be decided this season.
That circles things back to Jerry Reese.
PUNT: If I'm thinking it, John Mara already knows it..!
If there's anyone within the Giants organization keenly adept at recognizing trends, whom understands the business and cyclical nature of football, that instinctively senses when proactive measures are in order, and likewise knows when to pounce, it would be the general manager's boss.
John Mara possesses what Jerry Reese does not - the ultimate bird's eye view, family DNA, a pigskin resume that dates back to the club's days at the Polo Grounds, and most importantly, the final say in all things Giants.
Jerry Reese has yet to hire a head coach during his tenure as general manager. Tom Coughlin was Ernie Accorsi's doing. In fact, much of what Ernie Accorsi left behind was what Reese smartly supplemented, and ultimately parlayed into a pair of Super Bowl victories... back then.
But outside of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, Ernie Accorsi's New York Giants narrative is complete. The Giants 22-26 record since 2012 largely falls on the shoulders of Jerry Reese.
Not only did Ernie Accorsi assemble one of the most formidable offensive lines in Giants history, they became an NFL record setting line at that. The Giants became and remained one of the most feared rushing teams in football in the years prior to Eli's acquisition, through his rookie and early years, and right up until the winter of 2011/2012.
Under Jerry Reese, the focused then shifted towards providing a mature Eli Manning with more down field weapons. Many receivers have come and gone, but Reese has largely remained successful in that respect. However, he was slow to address the offensive line, which is now the team's most worrisome liability. In turn, the Giants running game likewise became and remains among the worst in all the NFL.
Defensively, Jerry Reese continually ignored the position of linebacker by his own design. He no longer boasts an elite pass rusher up front, while his efforts to upgrade the secondary have been constantly stymied by injury.
Put another way, when a punter (Steve Weatherford) becomes your team's MVP by default, that team is in big trouble. If Wellington Mara were still around, he'd agree. But I'm positive John Mara remembers well how Dave Jennings became a Big Blue MVP punting for his Pop's ponderously bad teams of the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Presently, Jerry Reese's primary focus is rebuilding the Giants into a Super Bowl contender one last time during Eli Manning's post-prime seasons. Eli is now 34-years old; not old by any stretch. In terms of rebuilding this football team, however, time is of the essence.
John Mara has never been one to act hastily. Jerry Reese is still very well respected, but I'm starting to question whether John Mara will let Jerry Reese continue his mission beyond the 2015 season.
As a Giants fan, no running game, no linebackers, poor defense - that freaks me out.
Free from the influence of Ernie Accorsi, Jerry Reese's record is what it is. The Giants would have to post a 10-6 record this season in order to achieve .500 since winning XLVI.
a staunch Reese supporter...