Try to find a good thing to say about the New York Giants. You can’t.
The coaching was bad. The running game was nonexistent. Eli Manning was atrocious. The receivers — hailed by some as the league’s best before the season — were sloppy, at best. The offensive line was a human blocking sled, or worse. The defense wasn’t good enough. The special teams unit gave up a punt return touchdown, players falling down left and right in the process.
After Monday night’s gut-wrenchingly awful performance in front of the entire country (a 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions) the Giants look dead in the water.
New York’s defense hid most of head coach Ben McAdoo’s deficiencies last season, but they were on full display tonight. Hailed as an offensive guru at the time of his hiring, McAdoo called passing plays short of the sticks on critical fourth downs not once but twice. During the second quarter, he let the Lions run down the clock and kick a field goal instead of using his timeouts and trying for a two-minute drive of his own.
Through two games, marquee acquisition Brandon Marshall has just two receptions. Running back Paul Perkins, hailed as the future, has 26 yards on the ground. In total. Left tackle Ereck Flowers has given up more sacks than anyone cares to count. Surely, it wouldn’t have been of much trouble for McAdoo to add a couple chip blocks to a play sheet whose height makes Shaquille O’Neal tremor in his boots.
McAdoo is an offensive guru in the same way Charlie Kelly is a literary genius.
Then there’s general manager Jerry Reese. Reese not only drafted Flowers ninth overall in 2015 when most scouts thought him to be less than a first rounder, but he has stuck by him when those scouts have been proven correct time and time again. This offseason, after the Giants went through 2016 with one of the worst offensive lines in football, did Reese beef up on the positions? No. He signed Marshall — a has-been — and spent his first-round pick on a tight end. Then he spent his second-round pick on a defensive tackle, because the defense which ranked second in DVOA last season needed beefing up. Not until the sixth round of the draft did Reese turn to the offensive line.
Too little, too late.
But it’s a rare occasion when ineptitude on the sidelines is matched on the field. That’s just what happened on Monday night.
The Giants allowed Eli Manning to be sacked five times and pressured countless more by the team which ranked 30th in pressure rate last season. When he wasn’t busy playing the role of Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, Manning threw for just 239 yards and an interception at the most inopportune time. Go figure.
As for the run game, New York has 97 yards. Through two games. As a team. The good news is they get the Philadelphia Eagles next week, who only feature one of the best defensive lines in football.
There’s no silver bullet for the Giants. This team isn’t going to turn it around. The offense has been in neutral since McAdoo took over and won’t suddenly find the gas pedal now. The defense will not carry New York in the same way it did last season because it cannot carry New York in the same way it did last season. There is only so much you can ask of one group and the Giants’ defense has hit its limit.
Down is the only way to go from here.